At least 1,500 of Cali‘s 10,000 city officials are under disciplinary investigation by the city’s Office of Municipal Planning and Discipline Inspection.
Disciplinary official Maria Grace Figueroa told local newspaper El Pais that so far this year 28 officials have suffered some sort of repercussion for their actions. Offences included receiving bribes, using firearms to intimidate people in the Municipal Administrative Center, abuse of alcohol and drugs, corruption, absence from work, misuse of public documents, breach of trust, and other charges. One case under investigation involved an alleged knife fight in the Road Infrastructure Department.
Of the 28 officials, ten have been dismissed from their positions, six have been suspended, five were fined, and the remaining officials were reprimanded in writing. The largest number of sanctions were placed on officials who had abandoned their posts but continued to receive their salaries.
The departments with the most staff members under investigation are education, transport, and government.
Cali councilman Carlos Orlando Pinilla said the city needs to speed up investigations in order to resolve the cases.
“Sometimes officials believe their office puts them above the law, but this is not so,” Pinilla said.
Cali’s Ombudsman’s Office is also currently investigating 200 city officials. Ombudsman Manuel Torres has suspended Luis Eduardo Barrea, president of Metrocali, for failing to have the proper qualifications to hold the position. He is supposed to hold a graduate degree or have three years of relevant experience in the field, but according to Torres, Barrea does not meet this requirement. Torres does not hold the authority to punish the mayor for making the appointment despite Barrea’s lack of qualifications.
Two agents and an official of the Motor Vehicles Department have been suspended for abusing their positions, and Torres said an investigation into Education Secretary Mario Colorado has also been opened.