Colombia’s Comptroller General found that presidential candidate Sergio Fajardo, 16 other former officials and 10 contractors are responsible for the near-collapse of a hydroelectric dam.
Fajardo was among 19 former officials who were investigated for their alleged responsibility in the HidroItuango disaster that cost more than $1.1 billion (COP4.3 trillion).
Fajardo’s negligence when he was governor of the Antioquia province contributed to the 2018 disaster that nearly collapsed Colombia’s biggest hydroelectric dam, according to the Comptroller General’s Office.
Former Governor Luis Alfredo Ramos and former Medellin Mayor Alonzo Salazar were also found responsible, as well as the contractors that were hired to construct the dam.
The Comptroller General’s Office dropped the charges against Antioquia’s suspended Governor Anibal Gaviria who is facing criminal charges over his alleged corruption in an unrelated case.
The verdict seriously damages Fajardo’s aspirations to become president in the 2022 elections.
The chances of the self-proclaimed “extreme centrist” had already become smaller despite unflinching support of the anti-corruption Green Alliance party.
The Comptroller General’s Office is the first to determine responsibility for the HidroItuango disaster, which is also investigated by the prosecution and the Inspector General’s Office.
The prosecution has yet to file criminal charges over the alleged criminal responsibility for the disaster than left more than 100,000 victims who lost their livelihoods.
The Inspector General’s Office, which is in charge of disciplinary investigations, has also failed to come to a verdict about who is responsible for the disaster in the town of Ituango.
An accumulation of irregularities during the construction of the dam led to the blockage of the discharge tunnels, which almost flooded and collapsed the dam months before it was supposed to be inaugurated in 2018.
Engineers continue to repair the damage and effectively finish the construction of what would be Colombia’s largest hydroelectric dam.