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Looting in Chocó

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By: Carlos Alfredo Crosthwaite Ferro

In the last visit that President Petro made to Chocó, and specifically to the population of Istmina, in the public hearing, he echoed citizen complaints about non-compliance in the execution of the works on the aqueduct of that municipality, financed with resources of the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AEICD).

The works have not been completed, there is no one responsible, the money disappeared, and the worst thing, “there is no one to investigate,” were the expressions of the president. He asked: who stole the money from this aqueduct, and if not, was it that the Cooperation Agency stole from its King and his government, or was it the contractor who stole from the Spanish Cooperation?

The story behind this old network of corruption, inefficiency and absence of surveillance and control by the respective authorities is the following: Given the very serious backwardness of the Pacific region in the provision and care of its population in aqueduct and sewage coverage, which for the year 2010 were calculated at 41.3 and 33.2%, the national government headed by the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development (Today Housing, City and Territory) signed the project with the government of Spain on November 25, 2009. Investment Plan “All for the Pacific- Chocó”, benefiting 13 municipalities of this department, to increase coverage of drinking water and basic sanitation

The total resources contributed by Spain to finance projects in Chocó, Antioquia, Cauca and Nariño, was $25,710,419 Euros and the national government $30,000 million.

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As the entity in charge of carrying out the selection and execution processes of the works and their corresponding audits, in the department of Chocó, Aguas y Aguas was chosen, with whom Interadministrative Contract No. 186 of 2010 was signed, for an initial value of $103,693. million and commitment of $141.4 billion.

The initial term was 5 years, starting on December 13, 2010. During the tortuous path followed in its execution, 11 additional contracts were signed and the final delivery deadline was June 20, 2023, that is, the final term It was 12 years and 7 months, which was also not fulfilled. The balance that remained to be executed was $15,111 million.

It is not possible to understand what reasons led the second Uribe government to choose Aguas y Aguas as responsible for this important project that sought to guarantee the right of citizens of Chocó to improve their supply of drinking water and sewerage, despite the fact that it was a company providing these services in Pereira with good results, it is not an entity prepared and with sufficient personnel and operational capacity that would allow it to take charge of an investment process of these characteristics.

Nobody knows in detail the losses suffered by Aguas y Aguas in this disastrous adventure. Today an administrative process is being filed declaring the incident due to the alleged Non-Compliance with Contract 186 of 2010, and affecting the sole guarantee issued by the company Liberty Seguros SA, the contractor’s insurer. To date, Aguas y Aguas has only complied with 69% of the contracted value, with a non-compliance of 31%.

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I reported these anomalies as a councilor between 2016 and 2019. At that time, several debates were held in the council with the presence of Aguas y Aguas and spokespersons from the Chocoan communities who demanded compliance and quality of the contracted work.

I visited the Ministry of Housing demanding concrete actions to solve these non-compliances, nothing was achieved, everyone’s strategy is to defend contractors and officials, not compliance with the obligations signed.

Corruption always wins. The Agreement was signed when the manager of Aguas y Aguas was the current first lady of our city, and the true power in the mayor’s office, Dr. María Irma Noreña. Only many administrative decisions that caused serious damage to the company in its management remain in memory and impunity.

Add this one from Chocó and let the protest sound in the name of President Petro: Where is the money from the Istmina aqueduct?

How good it would be to know!!!

The post Looting in Chocó appeared first on Chocó7días.com.

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