Colombia’s public prosecution opened four criminal cases against 13 top officials for allegedly obstructing a corruption investigation against the president of the Constitutional Court.
Among those investigated are the deputy Inspector General and the general secretary of the Senate.
Investigators revealed a document in which deputy Inspector General Martha Isabel Castañeda allegedly asked Representative Jorge Ivan Bedoya, who investigates magistrate Jorge Pretelt for corruption, to drop the investigation.
The president of the Constitutional Court is accused of asking oil company Fidupetrol for $200 thousand in return for promising that the court would revoke a $9 million fine imposed on the company by a lower court.
Another criminal investigations against Castañeda relates to the apparent pressure she put on official conciliators concerning the reform of the balance of power in the Senate. Castañeda’s lobbying has allegedly led to special privileges granted to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez.
The third process is due to the alleged intimidation of Bedoya by Pretelt’s lawyer, Carlos Arturo Gomez.
A confidential document that was leaked on June 11 containing confidential information, and was allegedly leaked to congressmen to obstruct investigation of the disgraced court president.
Along with Castañeda, 12 other high officials are currently under investigation, including Secretary of the Senate, Gregory Eljach. The fourth investigation is related to Eljach’s performance during a plenary session in the House of Representatives. During this session, Eljach distributed 90 copies of reserved pieces of disciplinary proceedings, as a means to negate Pretelt’s proceedings before the Commission of Accusations.
If Pretelt is found guilty of demanding bribes to alter the sentences of one of the country’s highest courts, it would reveal a corruption practice that is entirely unprecedented on the highest possible level of Colombia’s justice hierarchy.
Nonetheless, the president of the Constitutional Court is receiving ongoing support from Colombia’s Inspector General office. In March 2015, Ordoñez himself urged not to force Pretelt’s premature resignation as a consequence of the ongoing corruption accusations.