Colombia’s conservative inspector general on Monday ignited another scandal when announcing a disciplinary investigation into one of the most prolific leftist opposition senators.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez said he would investigate Senator Ivan Cepeda (Polo Democratico) for allegedly overstepping his faculties while investigating former President Alvaro Uribe‘s alleged ties to paramilitary groups.
The IG’s investigation is the latest step in a partly partisan political war between supporters and opponents of Uribe, who has been praised for improving security indicators and military gains against FARC rebels major but is under preliminary investigation for war crimes.
Senator Ivan Cepeda (Democratic Pole) has been one of Uribe’s most vociferous opponents and has been trying to build a case against the former president he accuses of far-stretching ties to paramilitary groups.
However, according to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, a political ally of Uribe, Cepeda overstepped his faculties interviewing imprisoned paramilitary commanders over Uribe’s alleged role in the formation of paramilitary groups in the 1990s.
The inspector general claims that Cepeda “requested testimonies from detained paramilitaries … and offering benefits in return.”
Cepeda has published a book about Uribe’s alleged involvement in the foundation of paramilitary groups based on statements made by members of these groups.
If Ordoñez confirms his own allegations, Cepeda could be barred from holding public office.
The inspector general’s announcement spurred a wave of criticism from the leftist allies of Cepeda, who in an initial response claimed that “Ordoñez has a long-standing tradition of persecuting and condemning people from the left.”
The inspector general previously barred then-Senator Piedad Cordoba from holding office for 20 years, accusing her of having ties of the FARC. The evidence to support this, however, had been rejected by the Supreme Court.
Ordoñez last year ousted the leftist Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro in another case where the court discarded evidence to support Ordoñez claims. President Juan Manuel Santos was subsequently forced to reinstate the mayor.
During the same time Ordoñez absolved numerous ideologically aligned politicians who were later convicted by the court.
This discrepancy has led to accusations that the inspector general is abusing his power to wage a political war against political opponents.
But Ordoñez is not the first to investigate Cepeda, the son of a prominent communist politician who was assassinated in the 1990s by two former members of the military who had aligned themselves with the AUC, Colombia’s largest paramilitary group in history.
Cepeda’s quest to seek the criminal investigation of his political opponent already got him in trouble last year when he called for a congressional debate about Uribe’s alleged paramilitary ties.
While Congress agreed to debate ties between politicians and paramilitary groups, its president disallowed Cepeda to even mention Uribe.
Cepeda ignored this and is currently investigated for contempt.