Colombia’s Comptroller General says he will investigate allegation of bribery to secure the Senate approval of
a referendum needed to re-elect President Alvaro Uribe.
Comptroller Julio Cesar Turbay Quintero said it is the first time he hears about such allegations as made by presidential candidate Rafael Pardo. “There were no prior warnings or accusations. But of course the Controlling will investigate these complaints,” Turbay Quintero said.
Pardo claimed Saturday the government is using more than US$110 million
from public security funds to buy votes for the re-election referendum. On Wednesday, Pardo handed over photos to the prosecution showing senator Jorge Pedraza inaugurating a renovated building in the city of El Calvario, Meta department. Pedraza said in a press release that the Interior Ministry invested US$300,000 in the renovation.
According to the presidential candidate, this is the first proof of governmental gifts to Senators to approve the referendum. “This is a case of political corruption. Now we have to investigate whether the contractor had to give money to the Senator [Pedraza],” Pardo said.
Colombia’s Finance Minister Monday denied the Uribe administration
is bribing Senators to approve the re-election referendum. Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio accused Pardo of
lying. “It bothers me to see a presidential candidate making
accusations that do not correspond to the truth,” he said in a press
The government is already accused of having bribed Congressmen in 2006 to approve the first re-election of President Alvaro Uribe. The government gave notary offices to 34 lawmakers in return of a vote in favor of a
constitutional change needed for Uribe’s re-election, former Superintendent of Notary and Registry Manuel Cuello Baute denounced. The Insepctor General and Prosecutor General are currently investigating Baute’s accusations.
The second re-election of Uribe depends on a pending vote in the House of Representatives. The House was due to vote on Tuesday but suspended it after more than half of the lawmakers declared themselves impeded to
vote because of a pending preliminary investigation against them by the
The House will debate again on Wednesday at 3PM to vote on the impediments before proceeding to vote on the referendum.
The bill allowing the referendum will need the approval of a majority
of at least 84 Representatives.
The referendum is to ask the Colombian people if a president is allowed
to seek a third consecutive term. This is currently not allowed by the