lunes, 17 de febrero de 2014

Colombian general resigns following corruption reports in Army

A Colombian general resigned early on 17 February after the review Semana reported on taped conversations apparently revealing a "corruption ring" of officers including generals and colonels earning large sums of cash from Army contracts. The tapes revealed names of officers presumably acting as middlemen in the allocation of contracts to Army suppliers, and included the name of General Javier Rey Navas, head of the Armed Forces General Staff until today and a former head of the Army air force. The Defence Ministry accepted his resignation within hours. The State Inspectorate was to send teams to various Army installations for preliminary investigations into Semana's revelations, before deciding whether or not to proceed with any prosecution through the Public Ministry or state prosecution service, Caracol radio reported. While the Minister of Defence Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno was cited that day as saying the ministry would have "zero tolerance" for corruption in the Army, the Ministry cautioned on the website Twitter that it was talking for now to the officers named in the corruption tapes, as "the least is to respect their honour and listen to them." The review Semana also reported on 16 February on taped conversations in which the Army Commander General Leonardo Barrero Gordillo talks on familiar terms with a colonel detained and being investigated over incidents of extra-judicial killings attributed to the Army called False Positives. The review observed that the conversations, which reportedly occurred in 2012-13, were irregular on various grounds: the colonel was able to call the General's mobile phone from jail, the informal tone of conversations, the General's audible "contempt" for state prosecutors investigating the cases etc.. The Defence Ministry announced on 17 February the reappointments of officers in charge of premises where "false positive" suspects were being kept, Radio Santa Fe reported.

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