Latin America & Caribbean

Peru Vice-President Chehade 'steps aside' over scandal

Peru's Vice President and Congressman Omar Chehade smiles before a constitution committee at the Congress in Lima - 8 November 2011
Image caption Omar Chehade denies the corruption allegations

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala has announced that Vice-President Omar Chehade has "stepped aside" over allegations of corruption.

President Humala said Mr Chehade "was no longer part of the executive", but did not clarify if he had resigned or taken a leave of absence.

The constitution prevents Mr Humala from sacking the vice-president. Only congress can do this.

Mr Chehade is accused of peddling influence, a charge he denies.

"He was asked to step aside and he did, and today he isn't a part of the executive branch," Mr Humala told El Comercio newspaper.

Mr Chehade, who is also a member of congress, had earlier refused to resign, saying instead he would temporarily absent himself from his vice-presidential duties.

He said he was innocent of intervening to help a company take over a sugar plantation.

President Humala took office in July promising tough action on corruption and drug-trafficking.

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