The Ministry of Finance is holding back money meant for victims of land theft, putting the peace process at risk, said the country’s comptroller general Wednesday.
Sandra Morelli, the Comptroller General of Colombia, criticized the Ministry of Finance for failing to produce US$40 million set aside to hire public defenders on behalf of victims of the armed conflict, Caracol reported reports. She said that failure to implement the Victims and Land Restitution Law would be a disaster for the rule of law and for any peace process.
Morelli questioned whether the government was united and falling in line with the the priorities of President Juan Manuel Santos. “The president said that this was the most important law in the history of Colombia but that language has not been reflected in action,” she said.
The money is earmarked to help implement a law signed in 2011 to return land to people displaced from their land during the decades-long internal conflict. The law was intended to signal a move out of conflict. However in September 2012 a U.S. think tank said that the law had so far achieved little.
The Comptroller was criticized herself recently for being slow to investigate widespread healthcare fraud.