Former ministers’ bribery cases to be joined

Colombia’s Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered to join cases of former ministers accused of bribing congressmen to approve a constitutional amendment needed for the 2006 reelection of former President Alvaro Uribe.

A board of associate judges with the Supreme Court have ordered that processes be unified against former Ministers Sabas Pretelt and Diego Palacio as well as against former Presidential Secretary Alberto Velasquez, who are under investigations for what is called “Yidispolitica.”

The ex-officials are being investigated for allegedly offering bribes to politicians, including former Congresswoman Yidis Medina, in exchange for their vote in favor of a 2004 constitutional change that authorized former President Alvaro Uribe to run for re-election in 2006 for his second term.

Judges made the decision to approach the cases against the former politicians as a single entity, keeping in mind economic and temporal purposes, because they are all being investigated for the same crimes.

Medina said that it was she who suggested the unification of the cases. During the Yidispolitica investigation, ex-Superintendent of Notary and Registration Jose Felix Lafaurie and ex-Vice Interior Minister Hernando Angarita were also named as participants in the scandal.

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