Frente Renovador (FR) National Deputy Graciela Camaño will request today that the Lower House vote on whether to strip her colleague from Cambiemos, Aída Ayala, of her parliamentary immunity, in line with the order dictated by Chaco Judge Zunilda Niremperger, currently investigating her for alleged money laundering.
If Camaño’s request is accepted, then two thirds of Ayala’s peers at the Chamber will have to vote in favor of stripping her of immunity, as they had to last year in the case concerning former Planning Minister during the Kirchner administrations, Julio De Vido. If this is the case, Ayala would have to serve pre-trial arrest. According to Parlamentario, Cambiemos representatives do not intend to vote against the judge’s order.
Ayala appeared before Judge Niremperger yesterday, and expressed confidence she will be found innocent. Moreover, she assured the case is actually a political operation against her, arguing that she’s being investigated over events that another court has already determined were not a crime.
Ayala was mayor of the Chaco’s capital, Resistencia, for 12 years until 2015, when she ran in the gubernatorial elections and lost to Domingo Peppo. However, she went on to work at the national Executive Branch, as the Interior Ministry’s Secretary of Municipal Affairs. She left that post on December 10th last year to take her seat as a national deputy.
According to the investigation, Ayala, along with other associates, created private companies to award them public contracts by using their influence in the administration of Resistencia. Contracts that, predictably, were artificially inflated. The most relevant case involves a company that was paid AR $ 500 million to collect the city’s garbage until 2023.
Ayala also requested that the officials who served in her cabinet during her tenure as mayor be called into questioning to further clarify any suspicion. “I have sustained that we were a transparent administration. I am confident that truth will triumph,” she said.
We will have to see what the courts have to say about that.