Police said that more than $2.5 billion (COP 4.5 trillion) has been stolen from Colombians over the course of a major health care scandal, newspaper El Tiempo reported Tuesday.
The president reported that in just the beginning stages of the ongoing case, it has been discovered that nearly $17 million (COP 33 billion) in state money was stolen.
Thus far, news of the health care scandal has revolved around a network of 25 staff from the Ministry of Social Protection and the government agency Fosyga accused of double billing, extreme budget overruns and providing benefits to dead people, among other things.
Santos announced in a Monday press conference, however, that the details discovered so far are only the tip of the iceberg, and that “A mafia is stealing the resources of our citizens.”
Early Tuesday morning, a judge upheld Monday’s decision to arrest six out of the 25 of those initially implicated in the scandal, who are being held on charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, embezzlement, bribery and illicit enrichment of individuals.