Colombia’s Inspector General banned outgoing Magdalena Governor Omar Diaz-Granados Monday from holding public office for 15 years for overrunning costs on school kits purchased for children, Caracol Radio reported.
According to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, the mismanagement of funds was shocking as the company Sinco del Caribe sold school kits to a foundation at $9.36 per kit while the department flipped them at $28.35.
Ordoñez said that this practice was a “blind obedience to decide to award the bid and sign the contract, withdrawing completely from the principles of economy and accountability that regulate government contracting.”
The inspector general went on to say, “It is highly proven that the conduct displayed by Mr. Diaz-Granados Velasquez, through which he was found disciplinarily liable, seriously affected the credibility of the people in their institutions, as government contracting and the safeguarding of public resources represent the highest responsibility of officials to society to direct public services towards the general interest and purposes of the rule of law.”
Money meant to achieve greater coverage for school children ended up in the hands of contractors, which led to the banishment of the governor.
At the same time, Ordoñez also dismissed the Diaz-Granados’ private secretary, Julian Mazereth Corrales, for 12 years for not reporting any irregularities in the contracts, but signed them anyway without verifying the existence of a cost overrun.
The former governor was removed from office in February by the Comptroller General’s Office, but was not barred from holding any public office at that time.
Diazgranados has the legal option of appealing before the Prosecutor General’s Office in his defense.