Chile removes top army general over tickets fraud

SANTIAGO – The Chilean Army has confirmed the resignation of General (r) John Griffiths, as Chief of Staff after he was accused of fraud to the treasury.

The announcement on Tuesday afternoon came shortly after the former second-in-command of the Chilean Army was notified of the prosecution brought against him by the Minister of the Martial Court and Appeals of Santiago, Romy Rutherford, who investigated him for an alleged misuse of tickets to go abroad.

In the statement, the institution “reiterates its absolute respect and commitment to the rule of law and its firm conviction that it is not in any way responsible for it to issue an opinion or value judgments on the resolutions adopted by the Courts of Justice of the country in question, exercise of its jurisdiction, without prejudice to point out that as long as there is no definitive judicial resolution, all citizens have the presumption of innocence.”

In this line, the Chilean Army maintains that “this decision does not imply on its part recognition of guilt in the crime that is imputed to it, but it was taken to understand that its procedural situation is incompatible with its permanence in the active service of the Army.”

In mid-September, Griffiths testified as an accused of the return of money that would have been obtained by travel agencies, in different exits in the country during 2009 and 2015.

According to the prosecution, Griffiths would have misused air tickets abroad, corresponding to five trips between 2009 and 2014, and receiving reimbursements for CLP44 million.

This mechanism was revealed in a report published by El Mostrador, which also reported that John Griffiths traveled on an official visit to Uruguay for four days in June of this year. Although the host country paid most of the expenses, the institution paid large sums in tickets, per diems and “excess baggage”, which would be returned in cash to the officers.

Finally, the Army said they recognized the general resigned “as a prominent officer, who developed an outstanding military career in numerous positions of advice and command and that in merit to their professional and personal conditions came to reach the high office of Chief of Staff General of the Army, for which he is grateful for his exemplary vocation and permanent commitment demonstrated throughout his 38 years of service to the Army and to Chile.”

After being notified, the general (r) was transferred to the Military Police Battalion (BPM) in the Army Telecommunications Command in Santiago, Chile, where he is being held.

John Griffiths entered the Military School in 1978, graduating with the rank of Ensign in the Artillery Weapon on January 1, 1982.

He was a military school teacher in “Artillery Technique” and military academy professor in the subjects of “Military History and Strategy” and “Tactics and Operations”.

Before his appointment as Chief of the General Staff of the Army in November 2017, Griffiths was served as Commander of the Joint North Command.

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