Colombia trying to keep former ICT minister out of prison

Karen Abudinen

The prosecutor who has desperately been trying to keep former President Alvaro Uribe out of prison on Thursday claimed that Colombia’s former ICT minister was the victim of her own corruption scandal.

Former ICT Minister Karen Abudinen was a suspect in the alleged embezzlement of $17.6 million (COP70 billion) until chief prosecutor Francisco Barbosa assigned his right hand man to the case.

The lying minister

Former minister Karen Abudinen (Image: ICT ministry)

The former ICT minister resigned earlier this month ahead of a no confidence motion over her role in the alleged embezzlement of the advance payment to connect rural communities went missing.

The prosecution initially investigated Abudinen as a suspect in the alleged embezzlement, but this was given a surprising twist by prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes, who claimed the former minister was a victim.

Abudinen has categorically denied any wrongdoings despite the fact the advance had gone missing and the program was stuck for months while she was claiming the opposite.

Colombia’s ICT minister under fire over missing $17.6 million

Mr. Impunity

Prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes (Screenshot: YouTube)

Jaimes was a relatively obscure figure in the justice system until Barbosa appointed the prosecutor to investigate the alleged fraud and bribery practices of President Ivan Duque’s allegedly criminal patron last year.

The victims of Uribe’s alleged criminal activity pressed criminal charges against the prosecutor, claiming that Jaimes broke the law in order to absolve Uribe from the charges pressed by the Supreme Court in 2018.

While the judge is considering the prosecutor’s request not to investigate Duque’s patron, Barbosa asked Jaimes to take the case against Abudinen.

Colombia’s prosecution facing criminal charges over Uribe probe

Other suspects

Emilio Tapia

Instead of Abundinen, Jaimes will focus his criminal investigation on the companies in charge of the failed project and convicted businessmen Emilio Tapia, a.k.a. “the Contract King.”

Tapia gained notoriety in the first decade of the century when he was sentenced for his key role in the embezzlement of funds meant for the construction of Bogota mass transit system Transmilenio.

This time, the Contract King allegedly mediated between the ministry and the companies that forged bank guarantees to get the juicy contract and subsequently wired the advance for the project to a bank in the United States.

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