Colombian army generals are suspected of embezzling millions of dollars from military budgets, El Tiempo newspaper reported Sunday, creating another military corruption scandal.
Colonel Cesar Henry Rodriguez Giraldo wrote a letter to Armed Forces commander General Alberto Mejia, naming officials, lawyers and contractors who had been involved in an alleged embezzlement of COP8 billion ($2.8 million).
Rodriguez was responsible for the Administration and Accounting Center (CENAC) of Army Engineers for a short four months. Some say that he was transferred to the General command because of misunderstandings between officials and rumors that he was being investigated for counterintelligence.
Weeks before Rodriguez resigned from CENAC he wrote a 27 page letter claiming that his second in command, colonel John Neftaly Vargas, manipulated contracts and delivered useful information to external personnel.
Rodriguez said that he discovered information concerning the cost of the building supplies for army accommodation for the 15th brigade in Choco, the Communications Brigade in Facatativa and the Military Fort in Larandia, Caqueta had been altered.
Rodriguez claimed that documents had been altered so that the company Integral Solutions Union (SIU) won the building contract worth COP 3 billion ($1 million.)
Mejia told El Tiempo that the claims were immediately placed under investigation.
The investigation seeks to establish whether Colonel Rodriguez wrote the letter in anticipation of a possible investigation against himself as well as determining whether the claims of embezzlement are true.
The Prosecutor’s office recently received another allegation from businessman Jorge Enrique Gallego, who argued that the Army Logistics Agency also favored the same contractor flagged by Rodriguez, SIU.
Felipe Useche, lawyer for SIU denied the accusations saying, “it seems to be a reckless claim that must be proved before the appropriate bodies.”
The Colombian army have been embroiled in embezzlement scandals before. In February 2014 General Javier Rey Navas resigned amid such a scandal.
In 2014 the embezzled funds were used to assure the continued silence of soldiers convicted in relation to the military’s “false positives” practice, in which soldiers were offered bonuses and paid vacation in exchange for murdering civilians and dressing their bodies up like rebel insurgents.