Peru president's Rolex investigation: Six Ministers Step Down

Six members of the Peruvian cabinet tendered their resignations on Monday as part of a reorganization amidst an investigation into the acquisition of Rolex timepieces by President Dina Boluarte.

Hours later, five additional ministers tendered their resignations, including those overseeing women’s affairs, education, rural development, production, and foreign commerce.

As Peru grapples with the fallout from the scandal dubbed “Rolexgate,” Interior Minister Victor Torres made the initial move by resigning, just two days after law enforcement officials under his authority conducted raids on the residence and workplace of the president.

Although the government offered no clarification for the resignations, they coincided with the upcoming scheduled appearance of the new Prime Minister, Gustavo Adrianzen, and his cabinet before congress for their swearing-in ceremony, as planned a month earlier.

As the clock struck Monday night, President Boluarte officiated the swearing-in ceremony for six fresh faces, tasked with assuming ministerial roles vacated by their predecessors.

Torres said after a cabinet meeting that he was stepping down for personal reasons.

But his departure was widely seen as punishment for the weekend raids targeting the president. He has also taken a lot of heat in congress over a sharp increase in street crime.

Torres said he coordinated his departure with Boluarte. “I am leaving because I asked the lady and she accepted,” Torres told reporters.

Peruvian politics is a turbulent world — the country has had six different presidents in the last eight years.

Read also: Peru Ex-President Released From Prison 16 Years After

The most recent controversy unfolded in mid-March when a news program disclosed that Boluarte, whose approval rating is at an all-time low, possesses multiple luxurious Rolex watches, raising questions about their acquisition given her annual income of approximately $55,000.

Boluarte, aged 61, has provided no further clarification regarding the watches, simply stating that they are the result of a lifetime of hard work.

Currently, she is the subject of a corruption investigation aimed at uncovering whether she has illicitly gained wealth since assuming office in December 2022 and for her failure to disclose the watches as part of her assets.

Boluarte is slated to provide an official statement to investigators on Friday and has been directed to bring any Rolex watches in her possession to the meeting.

The dramatic raids conducted from Friday night into Saturday did not result in the discovery of any incriminating evidence against the newly appointed ministers.

Boluarte rose to power in December 2022 amidst the fallout from former President Pedro Castillo’s ill-fated bid to dissolve Congress and govern via decree, a move that led to his arrest and ignited violent demonstrations demanding Boluarte’s resignation and the calling of new elections.

Moreover, Boluarte is contending with a constitutional grievance regarding the crackdown on the protests, which tragically resulted in the deaths of over 50 individuals.

In accordance with the constitution, should Boluarte be indicted in the Rolex case, a trial would be postponed until after her term ends in July 2026, unless impeachment proceedings are initiated.

There is a possibility that Congress could seek Boluarte’s removal on grounds of “moral incapacity,” but this would require improbable collaboration between the right-leaning factions dominating the legislature, who are also Boluarte’s primary backers, and their left-wing opponents.

Africa Today News, New York

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