Late Wednesday, security guards at the Ministry of Social Development received a phone call from someone purporting to be Minister Giorgio Jackson, who said his nephews were on their way to pick up computers, according to police. These workers became suspicious when a caller impersonating Jackson called back to say his nephews were about to pull out the safe and fumigate the building.
The thieves ended up stealing 23 computers and one safe from the building, which is located just blocks from the presidential palace and several police stations in downtown Santiago. Broadcasting station Pew Pew reported that the safe was used to store documents including information relating to direct communications between the ministry and other institutions.
Authorities are scrutinizing ties between government and foundations as Jackson’s party faces corruption allegations over payments to an association for consulting work in areas where it has little experience. The minister is one of Borek’s closest allies, and while the president has tried to distance himself from the scandal, polls show it increases public scrutiny and draws attention from the government’s agenda.
Read more: Chile’s corruption issue is a major risk to the president’s agenda
Jackson said in televised remarks that the theft was “suspicious” and could be a “political signal”. Government spokeswoman Camila Vallejo said it did not appear to be a “common” crime. Opposition members and some government parties called for Jackson’s resignation.
“They want to play with the intelligence of the Chilean people. Thieves seek jewels, money, etc. and not safes with documents,” Fidel Espinosa, a senator for the allied Partido Socialista party, wrote on Twitter.