Global News

This article first appeared on DW on December 26, 2021.

The Peruvian Prosecutor’s Office announced this Saturday (25.12.2021) the opening of a preliminary investigation against prosecutor Norah Córdova for alleged irregularities committed by staff of her office in the recent and controversial raid on the offices of the Government Palace.

The investigations were opened by the Decentralized Office of Internal Control of the Prosecutor’s Office following a complaint filed by Eduardo Pachas, the lawyer of the President of Peru, Pedro Castillo after it was leaked from the prosecutor’s office that the President had not facilitated the procedure.

According to a document signed by the deputy prosecutor Luis Medina, Castillo allegedly refused to allow the prosecutors to enter the offices of the Secretariat of the Government Palace in Lima, which is denied by the president and his lawyer.

The raid took place within the investigation of prosecutor Córdova on alleged corruption in the bidding of a fuel purchase of the state oil company Petroperú for US$ 74 million that was awarded to a company of Samir Abudayeh, with whom Castillo met at the Government Palace days before.

Likewise, Castillo’s lawyer filed an appeal for protection before the Justice for Córdova to refrain from requesting any new search of the Government Palace, considering that the magistrate is acting with partiality due to her known opinions against Castillo, according to local media reports.

Córdova did not rule out on Friday in an interview with the radio station RPP the possibility of requesting new raids to the seat of the head of state and of refraining from the case because she considers that her actions are biased.

The magistrate, in charge of the First Corporate Provincial Criminal Prosecutor’s Office Specialized in Crimes of Corruption of Public Officials, emphatically denied that her strong political opinions against Castillo affect the investigation.

“Habemus ‘terrucos'”.

Among her arguments, she slipped several times that she is not empowered to directly investigate the head of state, since that competence falls exclusively on the Fiscal de la Nación (attorney general), Zoraida Ávalos, to whom she is informing about the progress of the proceedings.

During the electoral campaign, prosecutor Córdova publicly positioned herself against Castillo’s candidacy by posting on her Facebook profile picture the message “no to communism”.

Then she branded as “communists, ‘terrucos’ (terrorists) and corrupt” those who were part of Castillo’s government team, and when the electoral bodies declared the winner of the elections to the leftist candidate, she launched the message “habemus ‘terrucos'” (we have terrorists).

About those publications, Córdova argued that they correspond to his private life and that they have no relation with his functions as a prosecutor because they were also made in June when he had no investigation where the president was included as a witness as he is now.

“It is a private Facebook page in which the Constitution gives me the right as a person to have an opinion. That publication was in the month of June. Mr. President was elected and my respects to him. As a provincial prosecutor I do not have the power to investigate him”, she said.

Prosecutor Córdova was already known since 2018 when she raided the offices of the journalistic portal IDL-Reporteros to seize the telephone recordings that exposed “The White Collars of the Port”, a large plot of judicial corruption and trafficking of influences and favors.

Allegedly involved in this case was her husband César Serrano, who had contact with Supreme Judge César Hinostroza, the alleged ringleader of the scheme, to apparently try to extend his term as vice-president of the National Academy of Magistrates.