Colombia’s interior and justice minister Wednesday accused the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe of using its political power to secure its officials senior positions in the country’s private sector, further widening the rift between the current and former administrations.
Minister German Vargas Lleras noted that many former Uribe officials had acquired positions with private corporations that had profited from beneficial regulations during the Uribe government. “I do not want to offend anyone, but how many members of the previous administration are on the governing boards of private entities where the government introduced measures affecting them?” asked Vargas. “That cannot happen again. It cannot be that one makes a decision that affects or favors an undertaking in a sector and soon after one leaves office, he ends up presiding over the boards of directors of these companies.”
Vargas further stated that this sort of behavior would be made illegal by an upcoming anti-corruption statute, which he said would prohibit government officials from taking positions in related private industries for two years. President Juan Manuel Santos is expected to start enforcing the new statute on July 12.
Uribe quickly shot back on his Twitter account, hinting that Vargas had worked to hide connections between himself and paramilitaries: “What happened in the Supreme Court regarding the investigation of Vargas Lleras and paramilitarism in Cassanare?” Uribe tweeted. “What happened in the Supreme Court and the investigation of paramilitary and Vargas Lleras with Mancuso in Cordoba?” the former President added.
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez said that he would be investigating the behavior of former government officials who had taken up jobs in private entities.
The clash between Vargas Lleras and Uribe follows a row of incidents that increasingly show a rift between Uribe and his former Defense Minister Santos.