August 5, 2020

A Bolivian mayor isolates himself by COVID-19 the day he had to go to court



José Marías Leyes, mayor of Cochabamba, one of the main cities of Bolivia, announced on Monday that he is in isolation after having been with coronavirus patients, on the day he was summoned to testify in a judicial process against him.

Laws is isolated at home after having contact with two people who suffer from COVID-19, presenting mild symptoms of the disease but with stable health, according to a statement from the Mayor’s Office of Cochabamba, a city of just over 600,000 inhabitants.

The municipal authority waits in 48 hours for the result of a test carried out during this same day, to see if it is contagious or not, adds the note.

The mayor was summoned to testify this Monday in a city court in relation to a case of alleged corruption in the purchase of food for a police and military service from a Cochabamba company during the quarantine decreed in Bolivia.

Laws had filed an appeal to avoid the declaration and a possible apprehension, but this past Saturday the Prosecutor’s Office reported that it was rejected.

The appeal alleged, among other reasons, that the complaint of several councilors that gave rise to the judicial process is due to political persecution, a recurring argument by the municipal authority in previous cases against him.

The councilors accused him last April of having skipped the administrative procurement procedure, while the mayor alleges that it is not mandatory in the context of the state of sanitary emergency decreed in Bolivia by COVID-19.

Laws was suspended from office in October last year by other judicial processes still in progress, also due to alleged irregularities in hiring, but in February he returned to his post after having come to denounce at United Nations instances that he was a “political prisoner” of the previous Government of Evo Morales.

The 42-year-old politician, who came to office in 2015, is part of the Democratic and Social Movement (MDS), the party of Bolivian Acting President Jeanine Áñez.

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