Legal claims against the Colombian state currently total over $568 million, the Comptroller General’s Office announced Friday.
However $341 million of this figure emanates from a claim which has already been denied — and the watchdog urged authorities not to mislead the public when reporting claims against the state.
The Comptroller’s press release referred to statements made by the Director of the Agency for Legal Defense of the Nation Fernando Carrillo Florez, who said that claims against the state are equal to four times the national budget.
The watchdog urged authorities to exercise restraint when reporting the amount of claims as they could be disingenuous and generate panic.
$568 million is currently the official figure when claims against the Colombian government are totalled, said the office, but $341 million of that is a claim seeking land restitution in eastern Antioquia which the State Council had already denied.
Between 2003 and 2011, the state paid only $2.27 million in lawsuits, said the statement.
The Comptroller’s Office acknowledged the claims budget had risen in recent years and encouraged improved efforts in defense and injury prevention to avoid further increases in the future.