By Peter Tase
On Tuesday, the Paraguayan Senate, elected Senator Alfredo Jaeggli as its new President, who will serve in this new capacity for less than three months. The outgoing Senate President, Sen. Jorge Oviedo Matto, the nephew of deceased General Lino Oviedo, has requested permission to relieve the post after the recent scandal of illegal land acquisitions in Cordillera, made on behalf of the Paraguayan National Institute of Rural and Land Development (INDERT) from the San Agustin, S.A. Company which is owned by Sen. Oviedo’s father. Jorge Oviedo Matto, had decided to request permission and step down from his post, as the Paraguayan Senate members had initiated last week a political impeachment against him and their determination became more popular as the following week was approaching.
According to the Daily newspapers in Asuncion, this business deal was the coronation of a successful agreement, in a full scale political campaign season in Paraguay, between the Authentic Liberal Radical Party (PLRA) and the National Union of Ethical Colorados Party (UNACE). Such an agreement guaranteed the support by UNACE Party for the Presidential and Vice Presidential Candidates running on behalf of the PLRA Party in the April 21st Presidential elections in Paraguay. Based on many public accounts, anti-corruption officials have stated that INDERT has caused to the government a financial damage of more than 12 Million USD.
Luis Ortigoza, the President of INDERT was immediately fired by President Federico Franco, as a result of being investigated for his suspicious and active role in the last land purchase scandal.
Juan Carlos Ramírez Montalbetti, Paraguay’s anti-corruption Minister and Former Ambassador to Panama, has been appointed to lead INDERT and is expected to address the public as the investigation has made some progress.
The new President of the Senate will be Sen. Alfredo Luis Jaegli, who had served as Matto’s deputy, and First Vice President. He is expected to lead the congress until the end of June, a time when the newly elected members of Congress will take the oath of office. Jaegli is replacing Sen. Matto in accordance to the chapter IV of the Senate rules, which guide the functioning and operation of the Paraguayan Senate.