Colombia’s defense minister on Monday was accused of possible fraud in the suspiciously cheap purchase of his family apartment from an army contractor.
Allegations have emerged that Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon’s purchase in 2010 of an apartment from an army contractor was more of a “present,” due to its dubiously low price.
Pinzon rejected claims of illicit activity when he bought the $137,000 apartment from the entrepreneur, qualifying the accusers as “moral assassins.”
“They have no right to invent such an absurdity,” Pinzon said in a press conference.
The defense minister defended his integrity, assuring that the low price took into account that the apartment needed to be refurbished.
“This mockery simply puts together half-truths and lies to … attack the ethic and credibility of the Defense Minister … [who] lives with his family, with a mortgage just like any other Colombian with a respectable job.”
Pinzon was already under pressure after news broke last week over the alleged embezzlement of military budgets by corrupt elements within the armed forces. The scandal cost the armed forces commander his job.
On Friday, Pinzon explained to Colombian newspaper El Tiempo that although he was aware that the seller Jesus Hernan Amaya was an army contractor, he did not know him.
The minister has already provided explanations to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, Comptroller General Sandra Morelli and 67 military generals.
Amaya is a representative of RM Security, and has done business with the army’s military intelligence in the past. He has also provided services to the state from his own companies.
The apartment deal was sealed between Pinzon and Amaya’s recently separated wife on September 8, 2010.
Pinzon has demanded that the Offices of the Comptroller General and Prosecutor General investigate the allegations to find those responsible.
“Those who think they’re going to end the war on crime, corruption and terrorism with false accusations are very much mistaken.”