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)
Colombia army report says there was no spying on peace talks
Sri Lanka's president orders probe into war-time disappearances
Sri Lankan military inquiry says army did not shell civilians
Former Finnish president to advise U.N.'s Sri Lanka war crimes inquiry
Colombia's FARC says ex-president behind spying on peace talks
Iran nuclear talks may be extended as U.S. sees 'big gaps'
Obama approves fresh guidelines for U.S. military in Afghanistan
Zimbabwe's Mugabe tightens grip on party, to choose successor
West not expected to demand Iran atom bomb 'mea culpa' in deal
Irish PM's party popularity hit by water levy protests - poll
U.S. plans to arm Iraq's Sunni tribesmen with AK-47s, RPGs, mortars
Wigan chairman Whelan threatens to quit over racism row
Eggs for a heart-healthy diet
'Call of Duty' blasts past US$10bil in sales
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)