Colombian judicial authorities have begun investigating two army generals and at least 20 other members of the military for illegally funneling funds to mining companies.
The two generals are Nicasio de Jesus Martinez, commander of the 5th Division, and Nestor Rogelio Robinson, commander of the 4th Brigade.
Both men have been put on non-active together with eight other (former) members of the 4th Brigade which has its base in Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city.
According to local press, a total of 30 members of the military could be implicated in the allegedly illegal embezzling of funds that came from mining companies in the southwest of the Antioquia State of which Medellin is the capital.
The National Army said it was “verifying the storage of explosives, the transport escorts of these and the administration of internal funds of the 4th Brigade and the Pedro Nel Ospina Battalion stationed in Medellin.
After army investigators found evidence of corruption, “ten members of the institution were relieved of their duties … and nine are currently in the process of being retired,” the army said.
As part of a territorial control plan initiated early this century to recover national territory from left-wing guerrillas, private companies can hire the Colombian military to consolidate an area where miners seek to do business.
The corruption scandal is the second to embarrass the military this year; In February, weekly Semana revealed how top officials within the military had embezzled millions from the defense budget
According to the magazine, which had investigated hundreds of hours of 2012 and 2013 recordings between generals, colonels and lieutenant colonels, corrupt officials received kickbacks of distributed military contracts that in some cases were worth 50% of the entire contract.
- Comunicado de prensa (National Army)
- Investigan a dos generales por desvío de recursos de la Cuarta Brigada del Ejército (La Vanguardia Liberal)
- Relevan a 10 militares por investigación de desvío de recursos (El Tiempo)