President Juan Manuel Santos on Monday announced new measures to combat ongoing corruption in Colombia “so we will see far-stretching consequences, and soon.”
The president made the statement shortly after the sentencing of former Senator Ivan Moreno, who was found guilty of being part of an embezzlement ring that had illegally appropriated $500 million through an elaborate kickback scheme.
Following a cabinet meeting over the government’s attempt to curb corruption, Santos said he would be appointing a special prosecutor for corruption cases instigated by himself.
This presidential prosecutor is “essential to generate confidence among Colombians and the international community, especially because now we are making these big investments in infrastructure,” a sector that has been plagued by corruption schemes on both local, state and national level.
According to Santos, this multi-faceted corruption “requires a more sectorial and territorial focus,” which is why the president said he is planning to decentralize the investigation of alleged corruption cases.
“We are going to decentralize the work carried out by the [president’s] Transparency Secretary,” said Santos.
Additionally, “we are strengthening the internal control offices, evaluating their bosses, who have all been chosen on the basis of merit,” said Santos.
The president has been promising to combat corruption since first taking office in 2010. However, ongoing corruption allegations have stained the president’s credibility when it comes about his true intention to combat curiosity.
Opposition forces on both the left and the right of Colombia’s political spectrum have accused the Santos administration by promoting corruption through the allocation of government funds to political allies.
According to a poll held in September, 65% of Colombians disapprove of the president’s efforts to combat corruption. Only 29% approves the efforts.