Colombia:Odebrecht scandal reaches the Attorney General

The death of an important witness and the subsequent poisoning of his son have changed the Odebrecht scandal in Colombia

Colombia:Odebrecht scandal reaches the Attorney General

The bribes that Odebrecht gave to obtain large public works contracts reached the highest spheres of political and economic power in Latin America. Hence, for example, the former president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, resigned to his position; and that former presidents Ollanta Humala, Alejandro Toledo and Alan García are: condemned, fugitive and investigated in this same case.

Leer en español: Colombia: La sombra de Odebrecht recae en el Fiscal General

Returning to Colombia, although since the Odebrecht scandal broke, people like former transport deputy minister Gabriel García Morales and former senator Otto Bula have been condemned. It must be said that other people with equal or greater responsibility have also been acquitted in this case, such as former President Juan Manuel Santos and former presidential candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga, who received contributions from Odebrecht to finance their campaigns in the years 2010 and 2014, respectively. The same has happened with others involved.

Read also: From Mexico to Paraguay, these are some of the most notorious corruption cases

The Colombian Prosecutor, his past and his knowledge about the irregularities of Odebrecht

The name of Nestor Humberto Martinez has been the subject of strong questions during the last days in Colombia, all due to the revelations made on November 12 by Noticias Uno , in which Jorge Enrique Pizano, who was controller (supervisor) of the execution of the work of the Route of the Sun II, assured that means of communication have knowledge of the irregularities that Odebrecht did in Colombia, which reported Martinez, who served as lawyer and legal counsel of both the Aval Group and Corficolombiana, partners of Odebrecht in Colombia.

However, the information known to Pizano and informed to Martinez, had no echo until the moment when Pizano died, because, according to Pizano himself, there were risks to his legal security and his own life, implying that I was being pressured not to divulge what I knew, as reported by journalist Cecilia Orozco in El Espectador.

This is related to the death of his son Alejandro Pizano, who died of poisoning by drinking water contaminated with cyanide. The bottle was in Pizano's desk, according to the Colombian Prosecutor's Office.

Beyond the explanations given by the Prosecutor Néstor Humberto Martínez about the revelations of Jorge Enrique Pizano, which were published by the FM radio station, the manner in which these statements were known and the circumstances surrounding the death of Pizano and his son point to an alleged concealment of Odebrecht by Martínez and the Aval Group. Not only during the period in which the current Prosecutor was a legal advisor to Corficolombiana, but also during the time he was an official of the government of Juan Manuel Santos between 2014 and 2015, and now, in the time that he has been a Prosecutor, in accordance with what was published by La Silla Vacía.

Also read: What are the factors that threaten democracy in Latin America?

Political interests?

Pizano not only delivered information reserved to Noticias Uno, but also sent it to Senator Gustavo Petro. The documents show how, apparently, part of the money from the bribes of Odebrecht came into the hands of the Char clan (members of the Cambio Radical party) on the Colombian Caribbean coast, in order to finance their political campaigns in 2011 and 2015.

Regarding the above, in an interview with W Radio Petro assured that according to the documents sent to him by Pizano, it is indicated how in the destination of these monies and their subsequent delivery to the Char family, they had to see companies of the Aval and Solarte groups (also a member of Odebrecht). The relationship made in this specific case with the Prosecutor Néstor Humberto Martínez, is due to the militancy and closeness that before being an official of the national government and Fiscal, had Martínez with Cambio Radical.

What will happen then with Attorney Martinez?

The echo of the Noticias Uno revelations has generated such a stir in Colombia, that opposition parties, among other political sectors and unions such as the National Association of Judicial Branch Workers (Asonal judicial), have demanded that an Ad-hoc prosecutor to review and carry out the investigations by Odebrecht, given the conflict of interests and illegitimacy that Martínez has for them. There are even those who have requested that the Prosecutor renounce his position, considering not only what was recently known, but also how little he and the Prosecutor General's Office have done in the Odebrecht case.

However, we will have to wait if that happens, taking into account the power of Attorney Martinez and the equally powerful people around him.


LatinAmerican Post | Samuel Augusto Gallego Suárez

Translated from: 'Colombia: La sombra de Odebrecht recae en el Fiscal General'

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