Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Wednesday the arrest of seven health sector workers and former officials accused of embezzlement.
The president tweeted the news, writing, “Another blow coordinated between the government and enforcement agencies in combating corruption: 7 arrested for health care theft,” reported local media.
The country’s prosecutor general Eduardo Montealegre told Radio Santa Fe that the arrested officials included current and former employees of health care agencies (IPS) on the northern coast.
Montealegre said the officials filed falsified guardianship and illegally received government funds totalling $2.8 million.
The arrests come after a year a major health corruption scandal broke in the country that began with the arrest of six government officials for recieving kickbacks related to irregular health insurance coverage.
Government health care suffered a $566 million loss in 2011 through the exploitation of flaws in the health care system, according to a March announcement from the Comptroller General, Sandra Morelli.
An estimated $5 billion has been siphoned from the system in total, according to the country’s medical federation.