Colombia congressman Ivan Cepeda asked for explanations from Ministry of Defense Wednesday over security contracts worth over $23 million with multinational mining companies over fast two years.
The congressman pointed to over 103 contracts between the Ministry of Defense and the multinationals, including U.S.-owned Drummond Ltd., aimed at protecting operations, installations and infrastructure in states of Antioquia, Meta, El Cesar, Tolima and Guajira .
Pointing to the lack of security offered to communities in the area of the mining, the congressman questioned whether the money could be put to better use.
According to El Espectador, the congressman said it was paradoxical that some communities asking for security measures from the Colombia’s Defense Ministry have been denied while foreign multinationals were being given so many special offers.
Cepeda also questioned whether the high costs associated with the security measures were being paid for by the multinational companies.
In particular, Drummond Ltd., received negative attentions after allegations arose that the company hired paramilitary organization AUC to conduct private security operations in the western state of Cesar, which led to the killing of union leaders and over one hundred civilians, according to local community members.