Colombia’s former Defense Minister and current presidential candidate Rafael Pardo claims the government is using more than US$110 million from public security funds to buy votes for the referendum needed for the re-election of President Alvaro Uribe.
Pardo told Caracol Radio the money that comes from public safety funds managed by Fonsecon, a fund meant for the rebuilding of police stations, was used by Interior and Justice Minister Fabio Valencia Cossio to build town halls on the request of politicians.
“Itis not surprising that there is insecurity in the cities if the Interior Minister has ordered, through agreements with mayors, theconstruction of 52 town halls with the intention to change votes of congressmen, using funds for urban security,” Pardo said.
Pardo requested to meet with Inspector General Alejandro Ordóñez to provide detailed information on his allegations. Pardo wants Ordóñez to suspend recent contracts by Fonsacon until there has been an investigation on how the contracts came about.
According to Pardo, there have been numerous contracts offered through Invias, the country’s rural development institute, and Incoder, the National Highway Institute. “This is the most abhorrent and sickening political corruption in Colombia, by far worse than the ‘yidispolitica scandal.”
“It is not surprising that [Conservative Party Senator] Villamizar and another lawmaker, Juan Manuel Corzo, have been the targets of raids to their homes as ordered by the Supreme Court in relation to the ‘notaries scandal’.” Investigators found US$500 thousand in cash in Villamizar’s home.
“Thenegotiation of notaries in exchange for the first re-election of Uribe came to the public opinion three years later. Today, the country sees live, before the vote, the illegalities in the process of the referendum in Congress. We will see Minister Valencia Cossio, other government officials and lawmakers in the courtroom answering for these actions.” Pardo concluded.
The Second re-election of Uribe depends on a pending vote in the House of Representatives. If the House agrees with the constitutional change needed and the Constitutional Court approves the bill, the Colombian people will be asked if a president is allowed three consecutive terms in office.
Colombia’s presidential elections will be held in May 2010.