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Guatemala investigates $7 million corruption scandal

GUATEMALA CITY — Prosecutors in Guatemala are investigating more than 100 people for their alleged involvement in a corruption ring that took kickbacks for rebuilding public hospitals and padded payrolls in the health sector.

The case was revealed by the U.N.’s International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala, whose mandate ends in September.

Prosecutors say the suspects may have taken about $7 million at the Public Health Ministry between 2012 and 2014.

Several hospitals had to be rebuilt or remodeled following the country’s 2012 earthquake.

Prosecutors said about 450 jobs were given out as favours, including about 100 “ghost” position in which people picked up paychecks but didn’t even report for work.

They said 19 people had been arrested and others, including the former health minister, were considered fugitives.

The Associated Press