Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s office announced two new investigations against Bogota mayor Gustavo Petro on Wednesday, local media reported.
The Prosecutor General’s office has started the preliminary measures of a formal investigation into the interference of one of Petro’s relatives into the contracts negotiated by the Mayor’s office, reports national newspaper El Espectador.
The case states that there were alleged private meetings between Petro, his cabinet and his extended family member – Carlos Alberto Gutierrez – where the prolongation of contracts relating to the Transmilenio bus rapid transit system was agreed upon.
This is just the latest in a string of controversies for Petro, who last year from office in December 2013, but re-instated in late April.
Petro denies claims
Petro denied the latest claims while stating his commitment to telling his cabinet to not enter into contracts or deal with family members and friends in the political realm, or connections formed as a result of political favors, reports Colombia’s Semana news-magazine.
In April, Petro was investigated by Bogota’s Comptroller for over 200 service contracts exceeding $6 million in value. The comptroller found the fact that so many contracts were signed in a short period of time suspicious, and worthy of investigation.
Petro: the history
Petro was removed from office in December 2013 by the Inspector General’s office due to alleged “irregularities” that were uncovered in his attempts to transfer the city’s privatized garbage collection system into public hands. This allegedly resulted in 9,920 tons of uncollected garbage left on the streets.
This prompted Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordoñez to announce his decision removing Petro from office and banning him from serving public office for 15 years.
President Juan Manuel Santos originally replaced Petro with an interim mayor and member of his cabinet, Labor Minister Rafael Pardo. Per Colombian law, Santos was required to choose somebody to replace Petro with somebody from his party, choosing Maria Mercedes Maldonado. Maldonado was in office for one day before Petro was reinstated by Santos based on an order from an Inter-American Commission for Human Rights.
The mayor of Bogota is widely considered to be one of the most important figures in Colombian politics.
- Procuraduría abrió 2 nuevos procesos preliminares al alcalde Gustavo Petro (El Espectador)
- Todos los ojos sobre el alcalde Gustavo Petro (Semana)