Corrupt officials have embezzled more than $13 billion from Colombia’s regional budgets, according to the comptroller general. A program to feed poor children lost $16 million through corruption.
Comptroller General Edgardo Maya announced the awe-dropping figure on Wednesday at the presentation of results of an audit of regional development budgets.
We have a calculation that between 40 and 50 trillion pesos are appropriated from all budgets by corrupt officials.
Comptroller General Edgardo Maya
Maya’s audit of only a part of all annual government spending has already exposed more fraud than estimated by other officials.
The inspector general estimated last total state corruption would be no more than $7.5 billion, or 10% of the national budget.
The fiscal office initially intended to investigate the effectiveness of development budgets sent from Bogota.
What it found was widespread fraud, particularly in the health sector, which has been in a financial crisis for years.
The program to feed children has received special attention after the death of more than 100 children due to malnutrition last year alone.
The scandal this spurred led to the arrest of multiple alleged corruption networks that implicated at least one governor.
Nevertheless, more than $16 million disappeared from the budgets for the children in vulnerable communities in remote regions.
Also in the pharmacy and mental health industries major fraud schemes have been discovered, according to Maya.
The comptroller general warned that the corruption with regional budgets perpetuating regional inequality and rural poverty.