Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Tackling Colombian corruption: a Sisyphean task?

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on July 15, 2011

by Naomi Mapstone for Financial Times – Beyond Brics, July 15th, 2011.

Colombia’s president has stamped on another tentacle of Colombian corruption, ordering the arrest of a dozen tax officials who siphoned off hundreds of millions of dollars.

Juan Manuel Santos says five more officials are still on the run, after authorities unveiled a “parallel office” that authorized value added tax refunds on fake exports.

Police are looking into VAT receipts for everything from false companies to Maseratis in an attempt to put a number on the fraud, which Santos said would run into millions of dollars.

Authorities had been investigating the scheme for at least eight months before this week’s bust, but Santos said an earlier investigation team had been “bought off”.

This underscores the depth of the problem Santos faces. In a thoughtful article “Five reasons why corruption won’t stop growing”, Bogota news magazine Semana points to a recent study of entrepreneurs who conceded that, on average, 13 per cent of a contract’s value is earmarked for bribery. (continue reading… )

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