Twelve Colombian congressmen may soon be banned from office for allegedly corrupting a failed justice reform bill to favor personal interests.
The controversy began last year, when six senators and six representatives were accused of abusing their role in the reconciliation process of a bill passed by both houses of Congress designed to reform Colombia’s judicial system.
- Alejandro Carlos Chacon
- German Varon
- Carlos Edward Osorio
- Gustavo Puentes
- Orlando Velandia
- Roosvelt Rodriguez
- Jesus Ignacio Garcia
- Eduardo Enriquez
- Juan Carlos Restrepo
- Juan Manuel Corzo
- Luis Fernando Duque
- Martin Emilio Morales
President Juan Manuel Santos eventually rejected the law, which the Constitutional Court agreed was in violation of the Constitution.
The State Council agreed to consider the charges laid out against the lawmakers, which accuse them of extorting political favors, soliciting bribes, and meeting behind closed doors at one of the senator’s houses to rewrite portions of the bill in ways that privileged their own interests and ignored those of their constituencies.
Based on claims made by Gustavo Moreno, a lawyer for one of the defendants, Caracol Radio and El Espectador reported last week that the Council is planning to exonerate the 12 representatives of charges ranging from public document fraud, to conspiracy, to trafficking in favors.
And similar reports emerged Wednesday when another debate within the Council failed to raise the number of affirmative votes necessary for a guilty verdict.
But the Council has yet to make its official decision, and there needs to be a majority one way or the other in order for it to do so.
Several members have indicated they plan on studying the matter further, but at least 10 of the 31 members are already believed to support the proposal that would relieve the congressmen of their positions.
The Council is scheduled to release its decision on July 30th, assuming it is able to come to some sort of consensus on the matter.
- Tambalea investidura de congresistas participantes en conciliación de Reforma a la Justicia (La F.m.)
- Consejo de Estado exonera a conciliadores de reforma a la justicia (El Espectador)
- Consejo de Estado estudia muerte política de conciliadores de la Reforma a la Justicia (W Radio)
- Consejo de Estado estudia pérdida de investidura de 12 congresistas (Caracol Radio)
- Consejo de Estado exoneró a conciliadores de reforma a la justicia (Caracol Radio)