Colombia’s former ambassador to Rome, Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, will be prohibited from holding public office for twelve years for bribing congressmen to support the 2006 re-election of former President Alvaro Uribe.
According to Colombian media, the country’s Inspector General’s Office found the former interior and justice minister guilty of bribery and is set to officially notify the official of the ban.
Pretelt de la Vega told Caracol Radio on Tuesday that he had not heard from the Inspector General’s Office yet, but would return from Rome immediately when notified of the ruling. The ambassador had already resigned from his post following his indictment by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
According to the charges, the former minister offered political favors and notary offices to several lawmakers in 2004 in order to build a Congress majority for the approval of a constitutional change needed for Uribe’s 2006 re-election.
Two congressmen, Teodolindo Avendaño and Yidis Medina, have been convicted for accepting bribes offered by Pretelt and, allegedly, by former minister Diego Palacio.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez had earlier dropped charges against Pretelt de la Vega and Palacio, on the grounds that he saw no merit in an investigation. This decision caused the Supreme Court to open a criminal investigation into Ordoñez.