Posted by James Bargent on Sep 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Suspended Bogota mayor taken to prison

Suspended Bogota Mayor Samuel Moreno was escorted from a Bogota court room to La Picota prison on Friday, where he will stay until his trial on corruption charges.

After three days considering the evidence, the judge ruled in favor of preliminary detention, saying in his verdict Moreno was a “danger to society.”

The judge accepted the prosecutor’s claims that could still exert his influence in Bogota if he remained free and rejected the defense’s claim that he was the victim of a vendetta by members of the Nule Group.

He also rejected the defence’s argument that the mayor had little to do with the allocation of public works contracts.

Moreno’s defense lawyer immediately appealed the decision, again questioning the evidence and even asking the court to take into account that the Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez is a friend of the Nule family and so an enemy of Moreno.

After a lengthy appeal, the prosecutor attacked Moreno’s lawyer, saying, “showing an immeasurable capacity for tolerance, the defense has dedicated itself to repeating himself again and again.”

He added, “he has lost sight of it. This is a hearing for charges and petition for preliminary detention, not a mini-trial.”

After retiring to consider the appeal, the judge announced he was upholding the decision and prison officers took Moreno away to the public officials wing of La Picota prison in Bogota.

Moreno was formally charged Moreno with fraudulent contracting, embezzlement and extortion for his role in the Bogota public works scandal in a the preliminary hearing on Monday and Tuesday.

Moreno was suspended from his post as Bogota mayor in early May after alleged irregularities in the awarding of public works contracts to the Nule Group construction firm, who have also been indicted.