Colombian tax officials have been stealing $4 billion a year by claiming false VAT returns, reported newspaper El Tiempo Wednesday.
According to the newspaper, the country’s prosecutor general’s office has already identified current and former officials who are suspected of approving false tax returns worth $4.26 billion, or 10 percent of the nation’s annual sales tax collection.
Colombia’s president recently promised to produce “great results” with his recently enacted anti-corruption plan.
“In less than a week, the country will be presented another great result in the fight against corruption,” said Santos. “A lot of people are going to go down,” he added.
Initial reports indicate that the scandal was uncovered by disgruntled DIAN employees.
Caracol Radio reported a constant struggle between honest and corrupt officials in the DIAN offices over the past few months. Corrupt officials were blamed of “bleeding” the state coffers through irregular sales tax refunds.
The reported tax corruption scandal follows a number of other major corruption scandals; the mayor of Bogota and other high government officials are suspected of having stolen public money meant for public works, and security companies are investigated for allegedly embezzling $2.5 billion.