Court president accused of corruption refuses to resign, colleagues threaten mass walkout
Colombia’s Constitutional Court is facing its biggest crisis in 24 years, as its president, Jorge Pretelt, refuses to resign following his alleged involvement in a corruption scandal.
Other members of the Court are demanding his resignation and threatening a “mass walkout” if he refuses, according to El Tiempo newspaper.
Pretelt stands accused of demanding $200,000 USD from the attorney of the oil company Fidupetrol in order to waive a $9 million USD fine against the company, the report said.
The protagonist of the biggest scandal in the court’s history has hit back, telling W Radio on Friday, March 20 that his family were “the victims of persecution” as a result of his refusal to resign.
Pretelt’s wife is now under investigation by the Prosecutors Office for four possible crimes related to a family estate, local media reported. It is alleged that she purchased land whose previous occupants had been forcibly displaced by the notorious paramilitary group, the AUC.
In the radio interview, Pretelt said he wasn’t ruling out the possibility of his wife and children leaving the country. He said he “would not allow the Prosecutor to lay a finger on my lady or any of my children.”
The embattled judge also said that the corruption of which he stands accused is “normal practice” in the Court, and added, “[ex-president] Uribe nominated me for eight years and I’m going to finish my eight years … so if I go down, we all go.”