The former administrative director of the Colombian Senate has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for using the Senate Library budget to distribute corrupt contracts.
The First Bogotá Circuit Criminal Court sentenced José Hernan Baute and put out a warrant for his arrest, reported Colombia’s Caracol Radio Tuesday.
At least 140 irregular library contracts worth over $3.66 million were signed in 2002 on behalf of Baute, then the managing director of the Senate. The contracts allegedly went to family or political connections, who then did not fulfill the terms.
The library’s budget chief, Leonel Jose Clavijo, was also sentenced, along with library assistant Diego Fernando Henao, Senate clerk Yolanda Giraldo Vela and library Division Chief of Goods and Services Carlos Hernan Salazar, according to the Vanguardia newspaper.
The officials were sentenced to between 90 and 120 months in prison for embezzlement, improper holding contracts and falsifying public documents.
More recently, corruption is still a problem for the Colombian Senate.
Late last year, the acting Senate President Juan Fernando Cristo, and Senator Roy Barreras, Cristo’s predecessor, were accused of influence trafficking, and abusing their positions in the Colombian Congress toward their own personal benefit.
In last Sunday’s congressional election, a number of candidates accused of corruption and ties to armed paramilitary groups were voted in to Congress.