Colombia’s demobilized FARC guerrilla group on Thursday claimed the prosecutor general intentionally omitted reported the content of a list of assets the rebels surrendered for victim compensation.
Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez on Wednesday decried that much of the assets reported by the FARC were “useless” while others were not specific enough to be seized.
Colombia’s chief prosecutor failed to make the FARC’s inventory public, spurring public suspicion that the guerrillas’ capital would not be used to compensate victims.
In an interview with Blu Radio, FARC leader Felix Antonio Muñoz, a.k.a. “Pastor Alape,” said that the inventory included more than 300 kilograms of gold, thousands of pieces of cattle and almost half a million in cash.
Why did the prosecutor not say that 20,724 heads of cattle were made available to the fund? In an amount that was left over from these expenses, we reported 2.5 billion pesos ($844,000). We added 450 thousand dollars and we had 327 kilos plus 520 grams in gold.
The prosecutor general’s letter emboldens public suspicion the FARC could be hiding assets in a way paramilitary umbrella group AUC did after its demobilization between 2003 and 2006 under former President Alvaro Uribe.
A 2014 report by the Victim Reparation Fund said that of the estimated $650 million in assets, the paramilitaries had only effectively surrendered $1.5 million in property.
Political associates of the paramilitaries allegedly surrendered no more than $500 worth of property.
The problem with the FARC’s real estate property, the prosecutor general said, is that assets had not been adequately identified or lack the paperwork proving ownership.
This is further complicated by the decades-long absence of the state in former FARC territories where all kinds of construction has taken place without ever having ended up in the Bogota books.
Additionally, the guerrilla group allegedly included road infrastructure provided by the guerrillas that cannot be considered private property and thus not be made available for victim reparation.
Delicately, the list includes almost $10 million worth of property allegedly “seized from the mafia.”
It is necessary to warn that the FARC lacks the judicial authority to appropriate such assets for the benefit of their autonomous patrimony.
Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez
These assets allegedly seized by the formerly illegal armed group from other illegal armed groups “would require the identification of the real estate property for its registration number and the evidence of the illicit nature of the activities of the owners must be shared with the Prosecutor General’s Office.”
To further confuse the authorities, the FARC allegedly included their weapons arsenal in the inventory in spite these weapons already having been surrendered to the UN and thus also not available for victim reparation.
Additionally, the former guerrilla group allegedly included a list of medical procedures given to civilians of which it is unclear whether the guerrillas claim payment for this treatment is still owed by the former patients.
Lastly, the FARC allegedly surrendered thousands of minor items like rubber boots, brooms and kitchen utensils “that lack all commercial value and are not required to serve as a source of victim reparation,” the prosecutor general said.