Corruption in the ICA and the CAR of Cundinamarca: officials negotiated timber trees from reserve areas

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The evidence indicates that they would be responsible for illegally obtaining timber in protected and reserve areas

Corruption in the ICA and the CAR of Cundinamarca: officials negotiated timber trees from reserve areas

Corruption in the ICA and the CAR of Cundinamarca : officials negotiated trees from reserve areas

The Attorney General's Office managed to prosecute 12 alleged members of a criminal network accused of deforesting more than 7,000 hectares of native forest in several municipalities of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, obtain wood from protected species and market it.

Two of the defendants are officials of the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) and one more is a contractor of the Cundinamarca Regional Autonomous Corporation (CAR).

“EThese people, apparently, used their positions and influence, and in exchange for gifts, facilitated the issuance of permits to take advantage of timber resources in forest reserve areas or managed safe-conducts that allowed the organization to move large amounts of timber and give them the appearance of legality”, reported the Attorney General's Office.

The criminal group allegedly bought or appropriated forests irregularly, felled trees indiscriminately and moved the wood to different collection points, where sales and distribution were coordinated.

In the investigative work, according to the information provided by the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation, it was verified that the illegal activity affected protected areas in Tunja, Pesca and Combita (Boyacá); and in Zipaquirá and municipalities in the northern and western savannah of Bogotá, in Cundinamarca.

A prosecutor from the Specialized Directorate against Human Rights Violations charged to these 12 people, according to the possible level of participation, the crimes of conspiracy to commit a crime, illicit use of renewable natural resources and bribery for giving or offering.

Given the forcefulness of the arguments of the Prosecutor's Office, nine of twelve of the defendants accepted the charges. Among the people investigated are Omar Pineda González and Isaías Cita Uribe, the alleged main articulators of all the illegal scaffolding, in charge of financing andpurchasing the forests, the preparation of the wood, the transport of the product in tractor-trailers and direct contact with the officials who would be at the service of the network.

There are also: the ICA engineer David Enrique Rodríguez Cifuentes, who would be responsible for issuing technical forestry concepts that allowed the illegal structure to exploit certain areas; the servant of the ICA Sandra Liliana Páez Triviño, attached to a phytosanitary control area, but that, according to the investigations, he would have intervened and managed the acquisition of safe-conduct to support the mobilized and commercialized wood; and the CA contractor Jorge Augusto Cortés Rincón.

This is not the first time that the ICA has been involved in legal proceedings, since a year ago He carried out a coup and the domain extinction was ordered to a criminal network dedicated to cattle smuggling in which ICA officials are linked. The assets were valued at more than $4,000 million pesos.

According to information from the Prosecutor's Office, precautionary measures were imposed to suspend the dispositive power, embargo, kidnapping and take possession of assets, including furniture, real estate and livestock, which would belong to a network known as 'Los Corraleros', dedicated for several years to cattle smuggling in Colombia.

The evidence material collected shows how the affected assets would be owned by a known illegal organization as 'Los Corraleros'”, affirmed the Specialized Director of Forfeiture of Domino Rights, Liliana Patricia Donado Sierra. “The assets appear in the name of María Luisa and other persons allegedly involved in cattle smuggling. ICA officials would also be implicated, who apparently generated the livestock quota to justify the amounts of animals that entered the country ” added Donado.

Source: Attorney General's Office