Honduras: Former Finance Minister Tabora is Captured

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By Marco Echevarria

Rocio Tabora, the former Finance Minister of Honduras, was arrested at the Guasaule border crossing with Nicaragua on Wednesday. Tabora, who held the ministerial position during President Juan Orlando Hernandez’s second term from 2018 to 2022, faces corruption charges related to the procurement of seven mobile hospitals amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The arrest follows the issuance of national and international warrants for Tabora, who is scheduled to appear before the Public Ministry. Similar charges have been levied against former Health Minister Alba Consuelo Flores, involving the same $47.5 million purchase of mobile hospitals, which reportedly failed to meet necessary standards for their intended use. These charges were filed last Thursday by the Public Ministry, as stated by the newly appointed Attorney General, Johel Zelaya.

Zelaya also pointed out that former Deputy Finance Minister Roxana Rodriguez, along with Tabora and Flores, is regarded as a “fugitive from justice.” However, their rights to the “principle of innocence and due process” will be upheld. The accused former officials are implicated in fraudulent activities concerning the acquisition of the mobile hospitals from a Turkish company, intended to combat the pandemic that resulted in over 10,000 deaths in Honduras between 2020 and 2022.

The procurement of these hospitals took place between March and April 2020 through Strategic Investment of Honduras (Invest-H). Axel Gamaliel Lopez, the legal representative of HospitalMoviles.com and ELMED Medical Systems INC, was involved in the transaction. Lopez has been under an international red alert arrest warrant since April 2021, accused of being an accomplice in two fraud offenses. In a related case, former Invest-H director Marco Bogran was sentenced in 2022 to 10 years and 11 months in prison.