Former officials from the municipality of Santa Lucía in the department of Atlántico will have to face more than 25 years in prison for alleged acts of corruption that were charged to them by the Attorney General’s Office.
The Superior Court of Barranquilla heard the arguments of the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation and revoked a first instance decision that had acquitted those involved in an illegal network involving individuals and former officials from Santa Lucía (Atlántico).
Given the forcefulness of the evidence provided by a prosecutor from the Specialized Directorate against Corruption, the magistrate in charge of the case imposed exemplary sentences: 26 years and 10 months in prison for the former municipal mayor Osvaldo Santana González; 25 years and 10 months in prison for former mayor Teodomiro Ariza Medina and former Secretary of Planning for Santa Lucía, Alexander Cortés Polo; and 9 years in prison for Reiner Vicente Ravelo Brochero.
The events investigated occurred between September and December 2011. The heavy rainy season affected several municipalities in Atlántico, including Santa Lucía, and the National Unit for Risk and Disaster Management (UNGRD) allocated financial aid of 1,500,000 for each affected family.
Santa Lucía received 379 million pesos to assist 253 family groups. The money had to be delivered to support the reconstruction of homes, adaptation of land for planting and acquisition of basic necessities.
The Prosecutor’s Office established that former mayor Santana González asked Mr. Ravelo Brachero to carry out the census of victims without being an official of the municipal mayor’s office. Likewise, he verified in the records that 63 families were actually affected and received the subsidy; while the other 190 did not live in the municipality or resided in Venezuela, so the money was never disbursed.
In this way, 285 million pesos remained in the hands of the related officials. In this sense, they were declared responsible, according to their participation, for crimes such as ideological falsehood in a public document, material falsehood in a public document, embezzlement by appropriation and prevarication by action.