This article first appeared in Infobae on August 10, 2021.
The Attorney General’s Office revealed that, during the last five years, including so far in 2021, they have opened more than 21 thousand proceedings for corruption, however, of those only 5,097 have reached conviction, that is to say, that, according to the figures of the prosecutor, only 1 in 4 processes manages to be resolved, as Noticentro1 CM& learned.
According to the data of the entity known by the newscast, in Colombia, an average of three people per day are convicted for corruption cases. According to the Attorney General’s Office, most of the sentences are against the administrative sector in mayors’ and governors’ offices, among other entities.
These sentences are followed by those of corruption to justice that, in recent years, according to figures from the Prosecutor’s Office have been as follows: in 2016 they reported 481 convictions for that crime, in 2017 the figure increased with 585, in 2018 there were 548, in 2019 there were 506 and in 2020, 220, a figure that is expected to be similar by the end of this 2021, so it was learned by the Bogota media.
Finally, as reported by the Prosecutor’s Office to Noticentro1 CM&, the other major part of sentences for corruption that are ruled in Colombia are in the financial and tax system, for private corruption and electoral corruption.
In total, corruption cases cost the country 50 billion pesos annually, which is equivalent to 17% of the nation’s general budget, as revealed by the National Government’s Transparency Secretariat to the same media.
Colombia expands the list of “politically exposed” persons, to fight corruption
Last July 27, the National Government announced that, through Decree 830 of July 26, 2021, the list of Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) was expanded, to increase measures to combat money laundering, terrorism financing, and corruption by public officials.
“With this decree, which we promote from the Vice Presidency of the Republic, through the Secretariat of Transparency, the Financial Superintendence, the UIAF and the Department of Public Function, Colombia will have better controls on the risk of money laundering, financing of terrorism and corruption of which senior officials may be subject and also puts the country at the forefront of international commitments,” explained the Secretary of Transparency of the Presidency of the Republic, Beatriz Elena Londoño Patiño.
According to the National Government, the PEPs include those persons who have served or are still working in prominent positions in the public sector, and who are obliged to provide more information on their work activities to the respective authorities.
Initially, the PEP included the President and Vice President of the Republic, ministers, superintendents, generals of the Armed Forces and the National Police, congressmen, heads of oversight and control entities, governors, mayors, deputies, councilmen, and magistrates, among others.
However, with the extension of the list, now the individuals who will have to account for their activities are directors of international organizations, public universities’ expense officers, curators, and notaries, as well as officers and non-commissioned officers of the Armed Forces or National Police.
In this regard, in an interview with Caracol Radio, Alberto Lozano, lawyer, and director of Infolaft, a national firm in charge of the implementation of systems for the prevention of money laundering and financing of terrorism, assured that in the country a total of more than 50 thousand people at risk of performing acts of corruption will be monitored.
“Colombia follows an international recipe of a program for money laundering and corruption, this recipe says that you need an army of collaborators who follow corruption and the tools to do so,” said the lawyer to the radio station.
As Lozano explained to the same media, people who incur in corruption in Colombia generally resort to tax havens, and therefore, he indicated that the list of those who manage public resources in the country will allow monitoring the movements of those who are at greater risk of falling into acts of corruption.
In total, according to Decree 830, Politically Exposed Persons will remain on the list during the time they hold public office, and for two more years, once they have finished their work in the same.