May 17, 2021

The opponent of Conga mine is sentenced to 19 years in prison for corruption in Peru



Peruvian leader Gregorio Santos, leader of the opposition to the Conga mining project of the US Newmont, was sentenced Monday to 19 years in prison in a process that was followed for several corruption offenses committed during his tenure as governor of the region Northern Cajamarca.

Santos, who did not go to hear the sentence issued by the National Collegiate Criminal Court Specialized in Organized Crime, of Lima, was found responsible for the crimes of simple collusion, aggravated collusion and illegal association to commit crimes.

Judge Guillermo Huamán, in charge of the court, sentenced Santos to 4 years in prison and the payment of 500,000 soles (about $ 151,000) for the crime of simple collusion.

In addition, he was given 8 years in prison and the payment of 1 million soles (about $ 300,000) for the crime of aggravated collusion and 7 years in jail and the payment of 50,000 soles (about $ 15,100) for the crime of unlawful association for commit

THE ACCUSATION

Santos was accused, along with other officials of his regional management, of having directed between 2011 and 2012 the delivery of a series of public projects in favor of entrepreneurs when he was governor of Cajamarca.

During the hearing on Monday, it was reported that in the almost three years that the process lasted, 150,000 documents were reviewed and 270 sessions were held.

Judge Huamán said that allowed to prove that there was a fraud against the State in the contracts made by the agency in charge of bidding the works when Santos was the highest authority of Cajamarca, between 2011 and 2014.

Although the leader was not present at the hearing, his lawyer, Cynthia Cornejo, said that “in the next few hours he will be present before the authorities and will get right.”

AN OPPOSITOR TO THE CONGA MINE

Santos, leader of the Social Affirmation Movement (MAS), became well known in Peru in 2011, when he led the protests in Cajamarca, a region more than 800 kilometers north of Lima, against the Conga gold mining project.

Cajamarquinos believe that the development of this mining project, which remains paralyzed, would seriously damage the water reserves in their region.

Subsequently, he spent two years in pretrial detention, between 2014 and 2016, for the investigation that was followed for corruption, but was released after not receiving a sentence.

While he was being held in a jail in Lima, a resolution issued in 2015 by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) considered his situation to be “serious and urgent” and urged the Peruvian State to guarantee his detention conditions, something that was rejected by the Government of Peru.

Although in 2014 he was re-elected as governor of Cajamarca, he could not exercise that position for being in prison, but he was a candidate in the 2016 presidential elections, in which he obtained the largest vote in Cajamarca and 4% of the national suffrage.

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