Home > News > World
Monday February 17, 2014 MYT 11:00:01 AM
Monday February 17, 2014 MYT 11:01:06 AM
BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on Sunday ordered a judicial investigation into allegations senior army officers received huge kickbacks on military procurement contracts.
Weekly news magazine Semana which made the revelations says it has hundreds of hours of audio recordings proving the existence of an "astonishing corruption network" in which officers received up to 50 percent of the value of contracts.
"The corrupt deeds denounced within the National Army are very serious ... I have given instructions to the Defense Ministry to immediately take firm and exemplary decisions as necessary and make them public. This is unacceptable", he said.
Santos said that given the nature of the allegations, the investigation could only be carried out by the civil and not military judicial authorities.
Colombia has a fairly large army which has received financial and other assistance from the United States for more than a decade for its fight against the FARC and smaller ELN guerrillas in a five-decade conflict that has killed more than 200,000 people.
The government says the groups finance themselves through the trafficking of cocaine, much of which goes to the United States, though the rebels deny this.
Semana said the recordings, a sample of which were published on its website, were of phone conversations that took place in 2012 and 2013.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said a careful analysis of the facts was under way to determine how to deal with the allegations.
"These accusations seem to me very serious and in no way will we tolerate cases of corruption," he told reporters.
Judicial authorities are already carrying out a separate investigation to discover whether members of the military spied on negotiators in peace talks between the government and the Marxist FARC rebels after revelations by the same magazine.
(Reporting by Peter Murphy)
China's army to get more prominent role in military reform
Hollande, Putin agree to work more closely to combat Islamic State in Syria
Mali says arrests two suspects linked to Bamako hotel attack
Man jumps White House fence, triggering lockdown
France says UK air force needed in Syria to raise pressure on Islamic State
Eight experiences you can’t miss when in Australia
Virtual reality app brings crisis zones closer to home
Developer organises run to raise funds for two schools
Air Asia free seat promotion begins today
Copyright © 1995-2015 Star Media Group Berhad (ROC 10894D)(Formerly known as Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad)