Colombia: a minister suspected of corruption-related coronavirus

Colombie: un ministre soupçonné de corruption liée au coronavirus

Judicial investigations have been opened in Colombia against the minister of Agriculture, as well as a number of governors and officials for alleged corruption in the management of funds for the fight against the pandemic of sars coronavirus, said Friday the prosecutor’s office.

The persons referred to are Rodolfo Enrique Zea, the minister of Agriculture, but also the four governors of the regions of Arauca (northeast), Magdalena (north), Vichada (est) and San Andres (northeast) and 41 municipal officials, according to a press release from the prosecutor.

They are suspected of “irregularities in the award of contracts during a health emergency”, has he said, indicating that justice was going to “check 31 938 contracts entered into during the health emergency”.

Of this total, 909 contracts with a value of $ 166 million have been reviewed by the oversight bodies of civil servants (Procuraduria General) and finance of the State (Contraloria General) and the prosecutor’s office.

Since the declaration of state of emergency on 17 march in Colombia, the government has implemented a battery of economic measures to provide resources for the epidemic.

The president Ivan Duque has warned recently that officials found guilty of corruption would bear “the full weight of the law”.

“He who steals a assistance, designed to respond to a pandemic puts himself in the position of being a bandit of the worst kind, a sewer rat”, he declared on the radio Atlantico.

The containment of the country is in place for the moment until the 11th of may. At this stage, nearly 5,000 cases of contamination Covid-19 have been identified and 225 deaths.

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