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Colombia’s Election Chief Facing New Corruption Allegations

Leaked recordings suggest that Colombia’s national registrar helped cover up illegal campaign financing in the 2014 presidential elections.

The recordings of conversations between far-right former presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga and his 2014 campaign chief, Daniel Garcia, were released by weekly Semana.

The recordings would come from the Prosecutor General’s Office, which is investigating Zuluaga for allegedly receiving $1.6 million for his campaign from the now-defunct Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht.

These allegations were dismissed by the National Electoral Council (CNE) when the national registrar, Alexander Vega, was one of its magistrates.

In one of the recordings, Garcia tells Zuluaga that “Vega is of the thesis that nothing happened.”

In another recording, Zuluaga tells Garcia that the national registrar urged former Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez to end criminal investigations into Odebrecht’s bribery practices in Colombia.

I was at the CNE and I talked to Alex Vega. What did he tell me? “Man, look, I think that this has to be taken off the table, because if not, this will create a tremendous institutional crisis for the country.” That he is talking to the chief prosecutor so that he does not continue insisting on this.

Oscar Ivan Zuluaga

One of Vega’s former colleagues at the CNE, former magistrate Armando Novoa, told Caracol Radio that the electoral court agreed to not investigate the corruption allegations despite evidence of irregularities.

Novoa, who has accused Vega of corruption on multiple occasions, was recused from this 2017 vote.

In a response, the national registrar claimed that he has always acted within the law.

Vega’s entire career has been marred by corruption allegations.

The national registrar became the center of a major scandal after the 2022 congressional elections that revealed that hundreds of thousands of votes for the Historic Pact party of President Gustavo Petro were not counted.

The latest allegations emerge a little more than three months before local elections that are organized by Vega and his office.

Source : Colombia Report