The opposition to Colombia’s President-elect Gustavo Petro accuses the government coalition of trying to corruptly secure the election of an allied comptroller general.
The accusations followed attempts by lawmakers loyal to President Ivan Duque to do the exact opposite before they left office on July 20.
The debate is particularly heated because a 2018 constitutional amendment gave the successor of Comptroller General Felipe Cordoba sweeping powers to investigate and punish government corruption.
According to this amendment, Congress must elect a new fiscal watchdog before August 20 from a list of candidates composed by the previous congress before May 20.
Is this even legal? | part 1
Senate President Roy Barreras of Petro’s progressive Historic Pact party said on Monday that he will come up with a new shortlist, claiming that the one presented by former Senate president Juan Diego Gomez of the Conservative Party was invalid.
Gomez began composing the shortlist on January 17, when Congress was on Christmas recess, in an apparent attempt to secure a list of 10 Duque loyalists.
An administrative killed this shortlist on July 14, claiming that multiple of the candidates weren’t qualified and the list lacked female candidates.
To make things worse, multiple of Gomez’s candidates were accused of embezzling more than $119 million (COP500 trillion) in funds meant for Colombia’s peace process.
Is this even legal? | Part 2
Gomez rushed to present a new shortlist before leaving office, but saw his second list of candidates discarded by Barreras and House President David Racero, another Petro ally.
Barreras and Racero announced a resolution that created a provisional commission that would compose a new shortlist.
Congress would have the final say over who would be investigating corruption in the coming four years in a secret vote on August 18, according to the Petro allies.
Opposition politicians immediately claimed that what Barreras and Racero were trying to do was illegal.
This definitely is ironic
The corruption allegations hurled at Barreras and Racero are ironic as Petro won the elections earlier this year vowing to combat the corruption that marred the Duque administration.
The president-elect won’t take office until Sunday, but is already facing a scandal over the alleged corruption by two of his most powerful allies in Congress.
Petro had already come under fire from hardliners within his party over the efforts to secure a congressional majority with political parties that are notoriously corrupt.
Protests grew louder last week after Petro’s allegedly corrupt opponent in the elections, Senator Rodolfo Hernandez, was appointed president of a congressional commission to investigate corruption.