Computers of magistrates of Colombia’s State Council have seen files altered after authorities began investigating if the top judicial officials were being spied on, a local radio station reported on Friday.
Agents from the prosecution’s criminal investigation unit (CTI) checked the office of Magistrate Gustavo Gomez Aranguren for illegal spying after certain files had apparently been remotely deleted from his computer, according to La FM Radio.
The Prosecutor General was invited by the president of the State Council, Maria Claudia Rojas, to see if they could find out who had been illegally accessing information on high profile judicial information.
Rojas informed FM Radio that “there are times when we feel our decisions are being filtered and known by third parties, with commas and everything, even before they are analyzed by the criminal court, which has us very worried.”
This revelation comes at the same time that it was uncovered that evidence pertaining to Colombia’s former intelligence agency’s wiretapping scandal had gone missing from Bogota‘s National Archive.
According to Colombia’s El Espectador newspaper, it has been established that Magistrate Aranguren’s computer would turn on and off without anyone controlling it, files would be deleted, and some paragraphs of rulings manipulated to change key phrases in the sentences. The hypothesis is that the computer was being controlled remotely.
Aranguren’s computer had sensitive procedural information on the destitution case of Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro. The State Council and Magistrate Aranguren has the future of Petro in their hands.
Earlier this year, the Inspector General’s Office placed a 15 year ban on Gustavo Petro for the sloppy public takeover of Bogota’s trash service. Many, including the international community considered his persecution politically motivated and biased.
Also among the remotely deleted files on the computer, was the evidence the State Council used to overturn sanctions on former Medellin Mayor Alonso Salazar.
Mayor Alonso Salazar was banned from public office for 12 years for accusing a mayoral candidate of having ties with paramilitary groups. The State Council overturned the decision three years into the sanction calling the punishment “disproportionate.”
Magistrate Aranguren is part of the State Council, which is in charge of managing government administration and bureaucracy.
Aranguren’s office was under inspection for over six hours and the CTI took one computer and several USBs, according to local media.