(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 19, 2015 Guatemala's Vice-President Roxana Baldetti offers a press conference at the presidential residence in Guatemala City. On October 9, 2018 a Guatemalan court condemned former Guatemalan vice president (2012-2015) Roxana Baldetti, who was in preventive detention since 2015, to a 15 years and six months prison term, for illicit association, influence peddling and fraud. / AFP PHOTO / Johan ORDONEZ

A Guatemalan court sentenced former vice president Roxana Baldetti to 15 years and six months in prison Tuesday after finding her guilty of fraud in the awarding of a multi-million dollar government contract to decontaminate a lake near the capital.

Baldetti led a “criminal network” that sought to defraud the state, Judge Pablo Xitumul ruled in finding her guilty of conspiracy, influence peddling and fraud at the end of a four month trial.

Among the nine convicted with Baldetti was her brother Mario, who was sentenced to 13 years in prison for his involvement in steering the contract to a company owned by an Argentine-Israeli businessman, Hugo Roitman, who was sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The others involved were former government officials.

The project came to light in 2016 after environmentalists charged that the chemical formula sold was a mixture of salt and water.

Baldetti, who faces charges in three other corruption cases, resigned as vice president in May 2015 after being accused in a separate fraudulent scheme involving Guatemalan customs.

Source: Naija Hope Team

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