Opinion Columns

Blood is thicker than water…

In the El Espectador newspaper, Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anti-Corruption Institute, presented one of the discoveries made during the CabilVeo Project. The findings present the arrival of Claudia Daza (also known as Cayita Daza, a former adviser to Álvaro Uribe), Álvaro Eduardo Pupo (who is linked to paramilitary processes), and Nixon José Cáez (a major contractor from the César department) to the ICBF offices [ICBF is Colombia’s national Family Welfare office]. In the list of arrivals, it appears that the three visitors were headed to the office of Juliana Pungiluppi, the former Director of the ICBF. However, Pungiluppi asserted that she met only with Daza.

These meetings throw up a series of questions to which Enciso seeks an explanation from National Government, given that “Cayita” Daza could exploit her position as an official from the Congress of the Republic in order to benefit a third party.

The Conflicted Comptrollership

In his column “The conflicted Comptrollership”, published in the El Espectador newspaper, Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anti-Corruption Institute, denounced the conflict of interest for the Comptroller Delegate for the Defense, Justice and Security Sector, Sebastián Montoya Mejía, who had previously worked at the Ministry of Defense between 7 July 2015 and 19 October 2018.

Montoya, in his current position as Comptroller Delegate for the Defense, Justice and Security Sector, oversees the enforcement and legal compliance of the Defense Sector and its resources, as well as auditing the processes, contracts and resources that were advanced, signed and invested under the leadership of his former bosses.

The Governor’s other fortifications

The people who appear to be signing the contracts are actually third-party figureheads.

Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anti-Corruption Institute, revealed some additional information regarding hiring in the department of Chocó which sounds the alarm for corruption. The Attorney General’s Office recently announced the suspension of Ariel Palacios,  the Governor of Chocó.

The Institute’s revealing findings include: high-value contracts with non-profit organizations where their real names and corporate purposes are changed; supposed secretaries whose economic activity is very different from that stated in their contracts; and legal representatives who according to the State are defined as being part of the economically vulnerable population. This combined evidence leads to the suspicion that individuals are being used as figureheads to sign contracts with the State.

“Carrasquilla has repeatedly met with people of dubious reputation”: Camilo Enciso

Daily newspaper El Espectador spoke to Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anti-Corruption Institute, about the institute’s  findings having investigated records of visits and meetings held in the Ministry of Finance and other dependent agencies, as part of the CabilVeo project.

Some meetings with the Head of the Ministry of Finance (that is to say the Minister of Finance) were held behind closed doors with people investigated and convicted for their proximity to parapolitics, including people such as Miguel Pinedo Vidal, Juan Manuel López Cabrales, who, among others, are inclined to favor the paramilitary and related agendas in the Colombian Congress.

The return of parapolitics

The Director of the Anticorruption Institute, Camilo Enciso, published an article in Semana Magazine on 22 April 2020, where he provided an analysis of the second phase of the Cabilveo research project, which seeks highlight activities and relationships with a degree of ‘interest’ whereby businessmen, members of Congress or other individuals try to influence the decisions taken by the national government.

To this end, Enciso asserted that “For the past two years, the Finance Minister, Alberto Carrasquilla, has been meeting behind closed doors with numerous politicians with proven ties and even convictions related to their proximity to paramilitary organizations or corruption.”

The “parapoliticians” who visit the Minister

Ariel Ávila, a journalist for Semana Magazine, compiled and analyzed the information collected by the Anti-Corruption Institute’s CabilVeo project regarding arrivals to the office of the Finance Minister, Alberto Carrasquilla.

Regarding the arrival of people who have been accused of parapolitics at the Ministry of Finance, the journalist speculates about why they might have visited, what they came for, who let them in, who participated in the meetings and what the outcomes of those meetings were, leaving  Ávila to arrive at three possible conclusions.

Beware of the “incorruptible”

Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anti-Corruption Institute, warned of the dangers of the incorruptible in his regular column in the El Espectador newspaper. He discussed how the current pandemic in Colombia encourages many figures from across the national political spectrum to emerge and declare themselves as  incorruptible, when in reality they can turn out to be dangerous.

Enciso asserts that, “Everyone is announcing something, screaming, threatening, intimidating, but at the moment of truth, we see few results. Politics prevails, the lack of coordination is staggering, and there is a severe lack of  high-quality, serious and responsible public policies in the fight against corruption. ”

INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR OF THE ANTICORRUPTION INSTITUTE

“They should put a red line to keep the ‘creeps’ at bay”: Camilo Enciso

Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, was interviewed by the daily newspaper El Espectador, where he discussed his latest CabilVeo initiative, which seeks to make public details of the gifts received, travel, per diem and appointments of Colombia’s public officials.

During the interview, Enciso provided a further explanation of the work carried out by the Institute, the barriers that have arisen when it comes to accessing the required information, the importance of lobbying regulation and the measures that should be taken to avoid transactional relationships between entrepreneurs and officials.

The land of champagne

O 24 February 2020, in Colombia’s daily newspaper El Espectador, Camilo Enciso – Director of the Anticorruption Institute – delivered the first analysis of the CabilVeo initiative designed to detail the  trips, gifts, travel expenses and appointments of public officials.

In the article, Enciso spoke about the gifts received by Colombia’s Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla, from individuals, public officials and businessmen.

Using official airplanes to transport civilians to private events is an abuse of power: Anticorruption Institute

The Director of the Anticorruption Institute, Camilo Enciso, was invited to participate in the Vicky en Semana program to discuss the controversy around the use of a Colombian Air Force plane by the first lady, María Juliana Ruiz, to take guests who were not members of the presidential family, to their daughter’s birthday party in the Panaca theme park. The Institute asserted that the move constituted an abuse of power, and represented a violation of the principles of ethics in the public domain.

Enciso went on to say that, “The improper use of state property is a crime known as embezzlement. In order to verify whether it was configured as such, one would have to check to see if the person who had administrative responsiblity for the airplane authorized its improper use. That is to say, whether there was a violation of the applicable regulations. But beyond that, and even if it were concluded that the use was not “improper” in criminal law, there is no doubt that going on a trip to Panaca with your children, their friends and their parents  on board is a very evident abuse of power and a violation of the most elementary principles of ethics in the public domain ”.

From embezzlement to ethics in the use of the presidential airplane

On 15 February 2020, in La Línea del Medio, Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, gave his reflections on the controversy around the use of presidential airplane by the First Lady and other individuals. In the interview, he asserted that the legal conclusion in terms of criminal responsibility is clear, and that the absence of a robust regulatory framework here means that no responsibility is being taken either by the presidential family, or the officials responsible for organizing the trip. However, if one considers the situation from an ethical perspective, then one must take into account that the President and those around him are required to set an example to all Colombians with their conduct.

“Reform the Penal Code so that sanctions are real and not token”

Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, was interviewed the Nuevo Siglo newspaper on February 3 2020, where he explained the need to reform the structure of criminal sanctions in Colombia, since the current model sends a message to society that penalties exist and that they should be very high, however that in the end, in reality, they are laughable.

 The International Anticorruption Court

In an article for La Línea del Medio, Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, explained why the creation of the International Anticorruption Court is so important and called for combined, collaborative efforts to make it a reality.

We are leading the way in the creation of the International Anticorruption Court

On January 24 2020, Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, wrote an article for Colombian daily newspaper El Espectador explaining that Colombia made an official statement expressing its support for the creation of an International Anticorruption Court in 2017, thus becoming the first country to lend its support to the project.

5 trends that drive and challenge the fight against corruption

In his presentation at the Tec de Monterrey School of Government and Public Transformation, in partnership with the International Institute of Corporate Ethics and Compliance (IIEC), Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, highlighted the 5 main challenges and opportunities facing States in their fight against corruption.

The dark side to Clara María González, candidate for Attorney General

“Clara María González orchestrated a deliberate and systematic strategy to violate the right to access public information”

Camilo Enciso, Director of the Anticorruption Institute, published an article in El Espectador on 9 December 2019 in which he denounced the abuse of power and deliberate strategy deployed by the Legal Secretary to the Presidency of the Republic in order to deny the right to access information that was requested.

On 26 September 2019, the Legal Secretary to the Presidency of the Republic, Clara María González – recently included in the shortlist of candidates for the position of Attorney General – convened the General Secretaries from 37 entities of the national government to a very peculiar meeting at Casa de Nariño. The purpose of the meeting was to instruct them on how they should respond to a request for information filed by the International Institute on Anticorruption Studies (IIAS) for response from these entities.

President Duque’s Chief of Staff is questioned about trips, appointments and gifts

The Anticorruption Institute, an NGO, has filed a second right to petition in which it seeks to receive information about the activities of senior Colombian officials.

The Director of the Institute, Camilo Enciso, presented a new right to petition to the Presidency of the Republic, in which he requested information from María Paula Correa, Chief of Staff to President Iván Duque, about trips, appointments and gifts received.

This is the second right to petition to be filed, in light of the fact that the first one was not answered on the grounds that, according to Enciso, it was not possible to collate the requested information.

Governor, put on the handbrake

In his El Espectador article published on 23 December 2019, the Director of the Anticorruption Institute, Camilo Enciso, analyzed the hiring of the Regional Railway Company (Empresa Férrea Regional SAS) to develop the Western Regiotram Project. Enciso asserted that “If one discovers any  irregularities, then the bidding process should be declared void, in accordance with Article 25 of Law 80. To negligently proceed with the process, after finding any irregularity, would be to seriously breach the principle of objective selection. ”

Why is there no end to corruption in Colombia?

Margie Mojica, a research lawyer at the Anticorruption Institute, explained that the problem of corruption can be addressed from three different perspectives: inadequacy when it comes to  the prevention of corruption, a lack of political will and few social sanctions.

The lawyer went on to highlight that, although efforts have been made to develop educational corruption prevention models, there are still gaps when it comes to the implementation of strategies that “teach ways to strengthen transparency and foster a culture of integrity within social institutions.”

A review of the forty year struggle against corruption

Between 2008-2017, 3,176 criminal sanctions were imposed for corruption.

The former Secretaries of Transparency to the Presidency, Camilo Enciso and Gabriel Cifuentes, published an article in the Colombian national newspaper El Tiempo on 19 October 2018, in which they provided their overview of the fight against corruption for the last 40 years.  In their article, they state that:

Corruption is reinvented quickly, using tax havens, virtual currencies, new financial products and cardboard companies, laundering assets through the export of gold and taking full advantage of economic globalization, whilst at the same time, global efforts to combat the phenomenon are still weak.

We may be leaving a more peaceful society for future generations, but we still owe them a society that has a greater awareness of its vices and virtues; one governed by ethics and honesty; and in which integrity and virtue are the guiding principles of the behaviour of all Colombians.

The way forward in the country’s fight against corruption

The battle against corruption, like any other, requires a navigational chart that guides and steers sailors towards the desired port, defining priorities and guidelines for action. Without this, one can end up shipwrecked in a sea of projects without rhyme or reason in an environment crammed with initiatives of all kinds, highfalutin speeches, and politicians making capital from their self-proclaimed commitment against this problem.

So, learning from this, it is important to lay down some ideas that can help to bring order to the disorder and provide a stronger framework to this current anticorruption frenzy in which we are living. And for this to be successful, we should set the parameters that will enable us to achieve something concrete in the midst of so many ideas and proposals, some of which do more harm than good.

The Anticorruption Consultation: surpassing itself

The consultation that has just been approved by Congress is not perfect, but it might well be the first step in designing and implementing integral and precise measures that will allow us to get to the heart of the problem.