The office of Colombia’s Inspector General, Alejandro Ordoñez, is investigating 14 of the country’s 32 governors for their alleged illegal participation in politics during the congressional elections in March, reports El Tiempo on Thursday.
Amongst those being investigated include: the governor of Vaupes, Jose Leonidas Soto Muñoz, for his coincidental travels alongside a particular congressional candidate of the same party; the governor of Amazonas, Olbar Andrade Rincon, for allegedly giving money to a congressional candidate in order for him to buy votes; and the governor of Santander, Horacio Serpa, for unknown reasons.
According to Colombian law, it is illegal for any elected official to openly support or oppose a candidate in any type of election.
The report of these investigations comes after the Inspector General removed and barred from public office for ten years the governor of Valle del Cauca, Juan Carlos Abadia, for illegally interfering in an election.
Abadia was accused of illegally supporting the candidacy of former agriculture minister Andres Felipe Arias in the Conservative Party primaries by organizing a meeting between mayors in his department, in which he allowed Arias to promote his candidacy over his opponent, Noemi Sanin.
In addition to investigations into Colombian governors, El Tiempo also learned about investigations into other Colombian politicians for illegal interference in elections.
According to the report, authorities have opened 291 investigations against 115 mayors, 8 members of Colombia’s House of Representatives, 9 senators, 18 city councilmen, 3 department councilmen, and 115 other public officials from 17 departments, alongside the 14 governors.
The report also noted that the Inspector General might open up an official investigation into the governor of Antioquia for allegedly “favoring the campaigns of two congressional candidates.”
On Wedensday of last week, Colombia’s Supreme Court began preliminary investigations into alleged fraud which occured in the congressional elections in March, such as vote buying and tallying irregularities.