Following Petro’s rebuttal of the accusations, the newspaper — in more detail — reported on how defense lawyers defending the ousted mayor’s individual interests had received money from the city hall through other contracts.
The Prado case
One lawyer under investigation is Daniel Ernesto Prado, an old acquaintance of Petro, who was his initial defense when Petro was removed from office in December over the alleged mismanaged reform of Bogota’s rubbish collection system.
Prado allegedly signed contracts with the Urban Development Institute (IDU), the Special Administrative Unit of Public Services (UAESP), the Financial Health Fund, the Road Maintenance Unit (UMV) and the Surveillance Fund, for an overall total of $360,000.
Prado was so close to Petro that he accompanied him on a December trip to Washington DC to explain the situation of the embattled mayor as well as signing the request for precautionary measures from the Inter American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).
Prado denied the separate contracts were a reward for his legal defense of the mayor, and insisted that his defense of Petro was low-cost and done on the principle of defending human rights.
Additionally, Petro’s then chief of staff was accused of signing up to three contracts a day with the aim of securing the support of high-wage lawyers and communications specialists in social media to spread and defend the decisions of Petro.
Petro has publicly stated that none of his lawyers have received money from the Mayor’s office, in a rebuttal to El Tiempo’s previous article.
Bogota’s district comptroller is already investigating over 200 service contracts with a total value of almost $6 million signed by the administration of Bogota’s former mayor, Gustavo Petro, in January of 2014.
Petro responded the next day on Twitter, saying that his legal defense was free.
@MiguelPadilla85 mis abogados para defenderme no me han cobrado ni un peso. la mayoría pertenecen a la corriente democrática del derecho
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) April 13, 2014
Petro has consistently dismissed these accusations arguing that they were extensions of already existing contracts.
On December 9, 2013, the Inspector General of the country, Alejandro Ordoñez dismissed Gustavo Petro from his mayorship and banned him from serving public office for 15 years when he switched the garbage collection system in Colombia’s capital from a privately held contract, to a public one.
Since then Petro has been battling the decision, and taking his case to both national and international courts.