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Former Paraguayan ministers go to prison sentenced for swindling and breach of trust

The Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of Paraguay ordered on Thursday the arrest of the former ministers of Agriculture and Livestock, Enzo Cardozo and Rody Godoy, sentenced to 10 and 7 years in prison, respectively, for the crimes of fraud and breach of trust.

This occurred after the judicial instance rejected in limine the unconstitutionality actions filed by the two former officials, so they must be transferred to the national penitentiary of Tacumbú in the Paraguayan capital to serve their sentences.

They had been sentenced on November 28, 2022, and at the beginning of this month, the Court of Appeals had confirmed such sentences, but both were serving their sentences under house arrest.

Former Paraguayan ministers go to prison sentenced for swindling and breach of trust. (Photo internet reproduction)
Former Paraguayan ministers go to prison sentenced for swindling and breach of trust. (Photo Internet reproduction)

The unconstitutionality actions were filed on March 21 of this year by the defense attorneys of the former ministers, who at the same time filed cassation appeals before the Criminal Chamber of the Court against the second instance ruling that had ratified the sentences.

In the oral trial that concluded in November 2022, Paraguay’s Public Prosecutor’s Office was able to prove that between April 2012 and May 2013, the then Ministers of Agriculture and Livestock Enzo Cardozo and Rody Godoy authorized the disbursement of more than 68.9 billion guaraníes (USD 9.8 million) of the entity’s funds and those of the National Fund for Public Investment and Development (FONACIDE) to finance fruit and vegetable projects for small producers throughout the country.

However, the disbursements were made without any project to justify the disbursements since, according to the records, all the projects were prepared after the resolutions were signed and were presented only after the rendering of accounts.

Enzo Cardozo authorized a total of 7 disbursements for more than 60 billion guaraníes.

In comparison, his successor approved the disbursement of another three disbursements for more than 8 billion guaraníes, as proven in the oral trial by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Cardozo was Minister of Agriculture and Livestock of the South American country during the government term of President Fernando Lugo (2008-2012), while Rody Godoy was the successor in the short period of President Federico Franco (2012-2013). Both are from the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (PLRA).

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