Colombia’s Inspector General upheld its suspension against the former governor of Valle, Juan Carlos Abadia, from holding public office for ten years, according to a press release published Tuesday.
Juan Carlos Abadia, who appealed against the suspension issued in early May, was found to be in violation of Colombian law by supporting the candidacy of former Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias in the Conservative Party primaries.
According to the inspector general, the incident in question involved Abadia “using his position as governor of Valle to allow the presence of a presidential candidate [Arias] in a meeting with more than twenty municipal mayors that was suppose to be for official purposes,” which is “a clear example of non-objective behavior, that was biased and favored one candidate.”
According to Colombian law, elected officials are not allowed to interfere or influence elections in any way, meaning that they are barred from openly supporting or opposing candidates.
Abadia said on Wednesday that while he respects the decision by the Inspector General, he will continue on with his legal battle and go to international bodies to review the decision.
While Abadia is the only governor punished for illegal participation in elections so far this year, it was reported last week that the Inspector General’s Office is currnetly investigating fourteen of the country’s 32 governors for their alleged illegal participation in politics during the congressional elections in March.
Amongst those being investigated include: the governor of Vaupes, Jose Leonidas Soto Muñoz, for his travels alongside a 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.