The leader of a citizens watch network files a complaint against officials he claims are responsible for allowing the promotion of a former presidential security chief now in prison for ties to paramilitaries, reported newspaper El Espectador Thursday.
Pablo Bustos filed the complaint against former director of the National Police Oscar Naranjo, former Defense Minister Martha Lucia Rumirez, and six other members and former members of Congress for their participation in the rise of retired General Mauricio Santoyo who is at the moment in a U.S. jail charged with helping now defunct paramilitary group the AUC thwart anti-trafficking efforts by the U.S. and Colombian governments.
Bustos denounced the officials who he said allowed the promotion of the former security chief despite the existence of a disciplinary sanction issued by the prosecutor general. Santoyo was named the president’s personal security chief in 2002, but at that time he was being investigated for illegal spying on a human rights organization in Medellin.
The security chief was issued a punitive ruling barring him from holding public office for five years. This sanction however, was suspended by the Council of State in 2005 which ruled that the security chief could remain active while his appeal was in progress, and the following year the then defense minister and current president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, ordered his provisional reinstatement by Decree 2635 of December 2006.
This ruling allowed Santoyo to be promoted to Brigadier General in 2007, which eight senators supported and four voted against. The promotion had in any case been signed by then president Uribe two days previously.
The network chief requested criminal and disciplinary investigations to be held into the “junta of generals” who allowed Santoyo’s rise “without filling the legal requirements” of the phone-tapping investigation and without waiting for the decision of the prosecutor general which according to Bustos shows “clear evidence they have done something illegal.”
The network chief said that given Santoyo had only been provisionally re-instated, the promotion ought to have been postponed until the judgement had been made.