Colombia’s chief supreme court justice on Wednesday said that cutting the wages and pensions of judges would put judicial independence in danger.
Javier Zapata said judges who had served more than 30 years had labor rights that should be respected.
According to Caracol Radio, 93 pensions of ex-judges exceeded the legal amount. Supreme court judge, Guillermo Bueno Miranda, reportedly topped the list with a pension equivalent to 33 months worth of minimum wage. Colombia’s minister of justice on Wednesday claimed that the amount of overpayments in pensions for supreme court justices could cover 3,000 ordinary pensions.
“Treasury bills are very high,” said Ruth Stella Correa. “The cost per year to pay these pensions are very high figures [and] it is said that these pensions…could pay 3,000 normal pensions.”
The minister also claimed that is relatively easy to detect fraudulent payments of pensions.
“We just review records, analyze the documentation provided for the recognition of pension and in the event that is found that it was fraudulent, at any time, actions may be brought because pension claims have no expiration,” said Stella Correa.
“I believe that both the courts and congress are clearly aware of the situation that is occurring, the inequity the payment of these pensions represent,” concluded the minister.
In November, almost the entire judicial workforce went on strike to protest a huge pay gap between lower and higher ranking magistrates in the courts.
The ruling on judicial pensions is expected to be made on Thursday.