Lima, Dec 6 (EFE).- The National Board of Justice of Peru (JNJ), the highest governing body of the judiciary, suspended this Wednesday for six months the Attorney General (general), Patricia Benavides, as part of the process that that entity has opened to him as a result of the investigation into his entourage for supposedly forming an influence peddling network.
“The precautionary measure of preventive suspension is given within the framework of the immediate disciplinary procedure initiated against Mrs. Prosecutor Benavides, with the purpose of ensuring the normal development of the same, preventing its obstruction and guaranteeing the effectiveness of the final resolution,” reads a brief JNJ statement published shortly before midnight.
The JNJ explained that it made the decision “within the framework of its constitutional functions” and unanimously, with “a duly motivated resolution.”
The suspension of Benavides is in his capacity as supreme prosecutor of the Public Ministry “and, consequently, in the position of prosecutor of the Nation.”
Finally, they detailed that “the JNJ acts in strict compliance with the Constitution, its organic law and its regulations on disciplinary procedures, guaranteeing due process and safeguarding the right of defense of the person under investigation.”
On November 28, the board opened an immediate disciplinary process against Benavides, a procedure that the agency only initiates when “there is sufficient evidence of notoriously irregular conduct” by the judicial authorities.
The decision was made after the Special Team of Prosecutors Against Corruption of Power (Eficcop) and the High Complexity Crime Investigation Division (Diviac) of the National Police (PNP) opened an investigation into Benavides’s surroundings for forming a network dedicated to influence peddling that was allegedly led by the Attorney General.
Presumably, this network coordinated with congressmen to achieve the disqualification of former Attorney General Zoraida Ávalos, the election of Josué Gutiérrez as ombudsman, and the dismissal of the members of the JNJ.
However, Benavides is not formally accused or investigated, as she is protected by a special jurisdiction that confers her position and which she could lose if the JNJ dismisses her.
Benavides went to the JNJ headquarters this Wednesday to give his testimony and accused the board of violating his right to defense.
He also refused to testify in the process that that entity has opened against him as a result of the investigation into his entourage for allegedly forming an alleged influence peddling network.
“You have instituted a type of procedure for me that I consider violates my right to defense and the right to due process, through which I have filed several mechanisms for which I have not received any response to this day,” he said.