Suspended Bogota mayor Samuel Moreno was formally charged for his alleged role in the Bogota public works corruption scandal at a court hearing on Monday morning.
Prosecutor Ricardo Gonzalez laid out the charges of fraudulent contracting, embezzlement and extortion and petitioned the judge to keep Moreno in jail until trial.
Gonzalez told the court the evidence he had would show Moreno had complete knowledge of the contracting and was responsible for the associated crimes.
Addressing Moreno, he said, “you were not separate from the process, it is true that you did not sign anything but you were involved in every detail of the process.”
The court heard how in election campaign, Moreno promised financial backers he would deliver benefits to them if elected, including multi-million dollar contracts.
The prosecutor said, “the roads always lead to the same place” as he explained how contracts in Bogota were awarded to the same people, operating under different company names.
Moreno refused to accept the charges, telling the court “I have not been an author, participant or decision maker in any criminal behaviour.”
The hearing came to a premature end when the judge suspended proceedings in the early afternoon, saying he had to leave to pick up his disabled son.
The judge told the astonished court room, “The constitution says children come above everything else.”
Moreno was suspended from his post as Bogota mayor in early May by Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, after alleged irregularities in the awarding of public works contracts to the Nule Group construction firm, who have also been indicted.
The scandal began to unravel when a tape recording surfaced, capturing a conversation between one of the Nule Group directors and former Congressman German Olano that implicated Samuel Moreno and his brother, ex-Senator Ivan Moreno, in the corruption scandal.
According to the prosecutor Moreno could face a 10-15 year prison sentence if he is found guilty.