Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez Monday defended his decision to absolve a minister and ambassador of the bribery of former congresswoman Yidis Medina, because he did not read the guilty verdict his predecessor had prepared.
According to Ordoñez, the document that was prepared by the Inspector General’s Special Investigations Office does not have “any importance” because it was prepared under his predecessor’s rule and not under his, despite the fact it ruled that current Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio and current ambassador to Rome Sabas Pretelt de la Vega were guilty of bribery, should be dismissed and not allowed to hold any public function for respectively 10 and 13 years.
“i did not read the ruling, I did not take it into account,” Ordoñez told Caracol Radio, adding, “the king is dead, long live the king.”
According to the Inspector General, the investigation that was conducted under former Inspector General Edgardo Maya matters little, because the new investigation was carried out according to all standards and the ruling of the current Inspector General is the only one that counts.
Immediately after his inauguration in February, Ordoñez announced he would not continue the investigation of his predecessor, but would start anew. A month later, the Inspector General ruled there was not enough evidence to continue the investigation and the two high officials were acquitted.
Former Inspector General Edgardo Maya also distanced himself from the report Monday, claiming he never personally approved it.
The conclusion of the Inspector General’s Office’s investigation, published by weekly Semana Sunday, said both Palacio and Pretelt de la Vega were guilty of “gross misconduct”, should be dismissed and not be allowed public office for respectively 10 and 13 years.
There’s still a criminal investigation pending against the two officials for bribing former congresswoman Yidis Medina to support the 2006 re-election of president Álvaro Uribe. Medina has already been convicted for accepting the bribe and is serving 4 years and three months house arrest.