Colombia’s ICT minister resigned on Thursday after coalition parties announced their support for a no confidence motion over an alleged corruption scandal.
Former ICT Minister Karen Abudinen came under fire last month over the alleged embezzlement of $17.6 million (COP70 billion) meant to connect rural areas to the internet.
Colombia’s ICT minister under fire over missing $17.6 million
President Ivan Duque asked the iCT minister to resign after the Liberal Party and the U Party said they would join the opposition and vote to remove the minister.
The coalition parties’ support left Abudinen with the option to resign or be kicked out of office by Congress on Friday.
Until the coalition rift, Duque maintained his support for the minister whose last name literally had become a synonym for “stealing” and “supping off,” according to the Spanish Royal Academy.
Abudinen is the third to resign before being forced out of Duque’s far-right government by Congress.
Former Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla resigned and former Defense Minister Guillermo Botero resigned ahead of no confidence votes in May and 2019 respectively.
The ICT minister’s position gradually became untenable after media revealed evidence that the government development grant was the result of fraud and that development funds had gone missing.
Abudinen publicly praised the progress of her rural internet program after April when she learned that the rural development program had virtually come to a halt because of the apparent corruption.
The Prosecutor General’s Office is currently investigating the former minister and the government contractors that allegedly funneled the advance payments that are now missing abroad.
The prosecution was already investigating Agriculture Minister Fernando Zea because of the alleged misappropriation of emergency coronavirus funds in 2019.
The persistent corruption scandals and evidence of government ties to the mafia have sunk Duque’s approval rating to the point that he is now the least popular president in the history of polling.