Colombia’s chief prosecutor has been accused of withholding key evidence of mafia involvement in the alleged rigging of the 2018 presidential election in favor of his friend, President Ivan Duque.
According to attorney Miguel Angel Del Rio, he never received the wiretap recording that would prove ties between Duque’s Democratic Center (CD) party and the drug trafficking organization of Marquitos Figueroa.
The prosecution is supposed to send this evidence to Del Rio, who represents a businessman whose son was murdered by Figueroa’s alleged money launderer, Jose Guillermo Hernandez.
Barbosa’s blatant conflict of interest
Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa is a long-time friend of the president who has been investigated by Congress on election fraud charges after journalist Gonzalo Guillen published the transcript of the recording.
The Supreme Court opened an investigation into former President Alvaro Uribe after Guillen and his attorney Daniel Mendoza filed criminal charges against Duque’s political patron for allegedly ordering the election rigging.
This attorney doesn’t dare to imagine there exists a hidden interest on the part of your office or if not, of Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa in concealing such material evidence.
Attorney Miguel Angel Del Rio
Election fraud evident in transcript
In the transcripts, Hernandez was coordinating vote-buying for Duque in northern Colombia with a top CD party official who implicated both Uribe and the president.
The audio of this wiretap would either prove or disprove that this top party official is Uribe’s former personal assistant, Maria Claudia Daza, who resigned and left the country a day before Congress called her to testify.
One of Uribe’s attorneys, Victor Mosquera, implied on Twitter that the journalists who had made this evidence public “may have incurred in filing false charges and possibly even fraud,” implying the audio no longer existed.
Guilllen and Mendoza immediately wrote to the Supreme Court to investigate who would be behind the alleged disappearing of the recording and how.
We ask you to determine how and by whom this material allegedly disappeared as indicated by Mr. Mosquera, and establish the possible responsibility for these events of, among others, Alvaro Uribe, [Barbosa’s former deputy] Juan Francisco Espinoza and Victor Mosquera.
Gonzalo Guillen and Daniel Mendoza
In a press conference, Barbosa said the audio in which Hernandez was talking about moving money “under the table” had not disappeared, and said he would send this CD to the Supreme Court and Congress.
The chief prosecutor said on Monday he had already forwarded this evidence on March 5.
Duque’s legitimacy on the line
The evidence indicating Duque colluded with the mafia triggered a scandal of epic proportions amid concerns the unpopular government might be illegitimate.
Barbosa had already made it clear he wasn’t keen on investigating his friend’s allegedly rigged election victory, but concealing evidence is a crime he may not want to commit in the middle of a Supreme Court investigation.
Furthermore, Guillen is the last journalist in Colombia you want to mess with. He began reporting when the chief prosecutor’s mother was still breastfeeding Barbosa.
The last time one of Uribe’s lawyers tried to set up Guillen, the attorney ended up accused of physical abuse by multiple women and the journalist published a psychiatrist’s humiliating evaluation of the lawyer.