A lawyer representing the relatives of 15 people who died in a pipeline explosion has formally accused Colombia’s state-owned oil company Ecopetrol of criminal damage.
According to Aberlardo de la Espriella, both the directors and the management of Ecopetrol “had extensive knowledge of the breaches of minimum safety standards” that caused the fatal accident in the central town of Dosquebradas last December.
A total of 29 people were killed and dozens injured after a damaged pipeline burst, causing a fire which destroyed around 40 homes.
In a written submission to authorities, Espriella said, “The legal representative of Ecopetol and the management left the possibility of illegal outcomes (environmental pollution and damage to other people’s property) up to chance, although they were presenting themselves as probable.”
He requested the seizure of company assets to provide compensation for the victims, as well as a formal hearing to decide what should happen to Ecopetrol President Javier Guiterrez Pemberthy.
Earlier this week Dosquebradas Mayor Diego Ramos announced that his office would donate a 7,000 square metre plot of public land for new housing, and that central government would pay $563,000 for the construction.
Ecopetrol and the Colombian government released statements in December agreeing to assume all medical costs of the victims.