Documents revealing the Supreme Court testimony of a former official of Colombia’s drug enforcement agency (DNE) explain how seized mafia assets ended up in the hands of corrupt politicians.
The testimony of Helia Marcela Niño, obtained by Caracol Radio, states how the former director of the DNE, Carlos Abornoz, devoted every Wednesday to the attention of politicians and that accordingly it was common to see these politicians in private meetings on these days.
Carlos Abornoz created a special committee to deal with the incoming assets, seized from various criminals, who allegedly would already have a list of names of congress members to whom the assets were due to be delivered.
Niño named several politicians as having received the property of narco-traffickers and criminals, including the former Senator Javier Caceres and ex-Congresswomen Miriam Paredes and Lucero Cortes.
She also explained how a mysterious man, since identified by police as Daniel Torres Torres, was supposedly an intermediary between the DNE and the corrupt politicans, carrying cash to the drug enforcement agency in a briefcase.
“Unfortunately we never knew his name,” she said of the man, who used to “enter through the basement floor” and make his way to the tenth floor office of Jairo Coral, the adviser to then-director Abornoz.
Niño said that she saw him “many times” and that he “was always dressed informally,” in sneakers, and that he looked roughly between 25 and 35 years old, making it “easy to mingle with ordinary people.”
On one occasion, Niño’s boss Amparo Lucia Vega apparently walked in to Coral’s office and saw him with another man and an open briefcase stashed with money. As Lucia Vega made to retreat out of the office, Coral apparently said that the money was for charity.
Police Chief General Oscar Naranjo announced Wednesday that there is now sufficient evidence for the first arrests in the case and they are only awaiting the go-ahead of the Prosecutor General’s Office, according to El Espectador.
There are currently 13 members of congress and their families under investigation for having fraudulently acquired property.