Colombian state money meant to help victims of last year’s rainy season is being stolen by politicians and used in the campaign budgets for the upcoming local elections, the country’s comptroller general said Monday.
“We have seen that in several departments and municipalities resources were and continue to be diverted and that in many cases these resources are allocated to benefit political campaigns” of candidates running in October’s local elections, Comptroller General Sandra Morelli told Caracol Radio.
According to the financial watchdog, it is because of this that many of the 2.3 million victims of the destructive rainy season have not yet received aid.
The departments where most aid money has been used for political campaigns are the northern departments of Bolivar, Santander and Norte de Santander, the southwestern Valle del Cauca department and the eastern Casanare department.
According to Morelli, her office is in the process of suspending mayors because of their fraudulent use of the aid money.
The administration of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos had warned governors and mayors that the distribution of aid was going to be closely monitored and that immediate suspension would follow if financial authorities were to found out the money ended up in the wrong hands.