The daily El Espectador reveals the existence of “Code Black,” a corruption network within the U.S.-funded Antinarcotics Directorate of Colombia’s National Police. Starting in 2017, police whistleblowers began denouncing embezzlement and a scheme to use wiretaps to shake down narcotraffickers for money. The Prosecutor-General’s Office’s (Fiscalía’s) investigation has since moved very slowly.
Colombia’s Prosecutor-General’s Office (Fiscalía) issues arrest warrants for 10 mayors, alleging corruption in COVID-19-related contracting. The Comptroller’s office announces that it has detected US$110 million in likely contracting cost overruns, mainly for medical equipment, food, and related coronavirus services.
The Colombian newsweekly Semana reveals the existence of “Operación Bastón,” a counterintelligence effort that sought to root out corruption inside the country’s army. The operation found 16 of the Army’s 63 generals involved in suspicious behavior, including one who likely helped the FARC for years. The magazine alleges that Operación Bastón—begun in response to a house-cleaning recommendation from NATO when Colombia affiliated itself as a partner of the alliance—was greatly weakened by the high command that President Duque named at the beginning of 2019.
- El Tiempo reveals that corrupt Colombian police embezzled funds, including U.S. assistance, by falsifying over 25,000 hours of aircraft flight time over several years.
- The investigative news outlet La Nueva Prensa triggers a political firestorm by revealing audios of a top Duque campaign figure arranging a 2018 vote-buying scheme with José Guillermo Hernández, alias “el Ñeñe,” a large landowner with close organized crime ties who was under investigation for murder when he was killed in Brazil in 2019.
- The Army acknowledges that it transported “el Ñeñe” on its aircraft on at least two occasions since 2015.