The Mayor of Bogota Mayor met with Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office Thursday to present his defense against a potential criminal investigation, reported W Radio.
Over the course of a 10-hour session, Gustavo Petro and representatives of Vice-Prosecutor General Jorge Perdomo were said to discuss the circumstances surrounding the conversion of the garbage collection in Colombia’s largest city from a privately contracted system to a public service.
The Prensa Latina news service reported that the meeting focused on the budget and design technicalities of the urban sanitation scheme, which drew heavy criticism in December of 2012, when several tons of garbage was allowed to accumulate on the streets of the Colombian capital during a three-day transition period.
In December of last year, Mayor Petro was dismissed from office and banned politically for 15 years by the Inspector General, tasked with administrative oversight, over alleged “irregularities” in the conversion process. It remains to be determined, however, whether anything criminally negligent occurred, and the dismissal itself has been met with widespread backlash in the city and across the country.
Despite seeing his appeal rejected by the same Inspector General’s Office, Petro has yet to formally vacate his position, as various separate appeals processes work their way through the Colombian judiciary and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
On the same day as his meeting with the Prosecutor General’s Office, Petro reaffirmed his central argument that he has been the victim of ideological persecution on the part of Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, tweeting that the Inspector General’s Office has been “transformed into a political police.”
Ordoñez transformó la Procuraduría en una policía política
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) February 20, 2014
The Prosecutor General has previously challenged the power of the Inspector General’s Office to dismiss elected officials not convicted of any crime in civilian court. The Prosecutor General’s Office is reportedly waiting to hear further testimony before answering whether criminal charges are to be brought against Petro.