Today, February 5, a hearing was held to charge six people who were captured yesterday, February 4, and who are being investigated for alleged irregularities in the Maderas Chocó project.
Actually, what is known as the Maderas Chocó project consists of three projects.
The first project, “Application of science and technology CTeI for the improvement of the timber sector in Chocó”, was approved on November 20, 2014, for an amount of 15,500 million pesos.
It began its execution in June 2015 and its objectives include, among others, the training of high-level professionals (seven master’s degrees and five doctors) and the planting of 1,400,000 seedlings of 25 timber species in 14,000 hectares of nine municipalities of Chocó , installing two pilot plants, one in Quibdó and another in Bahía Solano.
The second project was approved on December 13, 2019 for a value of 23 billion pesos and its objective is to build a Technological Development Center for Wood.
This property was built at kilometer 19 of the Quibdó-Yuto highway, Atrato municipality, next to the so-called Chocó stadium.
The third project, on the use of by-products from the timber industry in the manufacture of organic fertilizers and production of insect meal, has a value of 5,500 million pesos.
The three wood projects have a total value of 44 billion pesos, are financed with royalty resources and are being executed by the Technological University of Chocó.
The people investigated are Eduardo García Vega, former rector; Yesid Aguilar Lemus, director of the timber project; Edinson Ledesma Ramírez, coordinator of the project; César Augusto García Pino, from the Atrato 2020 Consortium, in charge of the construction of the Wood Technological Transformation Center; Freddy Iván Paz Perea, treasurer of the UTCH, Manuela Gómez Córdoba, former treasurer-payer of the UTCH; Alexander Palacios Mosquera. administrative and financial vice-rector of the UTCH and Lilian Mercedes López Mena, financial head of the UTCH.
Of the eight people investigated, six were captured and two are evading the call of justice: Yesid Aguilar Lemus and César Augusto García Pino.
The hearing for the legalization of the capture, formulation of the imputation of charges and definition of the insurance measure is chaired by Almir Chaverra, promiscuous judge of Bojayá on duty to control guarantees.
The criminal investigation is led by Jackson Chaverra, Quibdó’s seventh anti-corruption prosecutor.
Yesterday, February 4, the capture legalization hearing was held.
Today, at the hearing for charges, the prosecution described what it considers multiple irregularities, especially in three contracts for the second project related to the Center for Technological Development of Wood and in the matter of progress.
These are the following contracts:
1. Contract 002 of February 8, 2017worth three billion pesos, for the purchase of machinery, signed by Eduardo García, rector of the UTCH, with the company Sierras y Equipos, from Itaguí, Antioquia.
The prosecution maintains that it is a contract of greater value and that there was no public bidding, that a spurious process was carried out, making prior direct contact with the company Sierras y Equipos, there was no planning and the principles of publicity, objectivity, transparency were violated , morality, economy and responsibility.
Nor did the contractor set up a trust to manage the resources. The contractor was paid directly. The machinery was bought without having a place to store them.
The machinery was not received by the UTCH on September 8, 2017 due to lack of a place to store it and an addendum or other was signed with Sierras y Equipos to pay for storage. UTCH still owes said company the sum of an additional billion pesos for storage.
Several certificates of entry of the machinery were falsified in the UTCH, dated September-November 2017, although at that time they were in Antioquia. The machinery was only actually received on August 12, 2020, three years later.
The equipment is abandoned, unused, without maintenance, has primary oxidation and deterioration. Several pieces of equipment were stolen. As of today, the machinery has no warranty.
The current rector, David Emilio Mosquera Valencia, finished paying this contract on October 21, 2016, and ordered the final payment of 226 million pesos.
2. Contract 004 of September 29, 2017, for the conditioning of the physical space of the Center for Technological Development of Wood. This contract, for an initial value of 734 million pesos, was signed by the then rector Eduardo García and Ángel María Melo Chaverra, and was later added by the current rector David Emilio Mosquera Valencia, up to a value of 1,050 million pesos.
The conditioning workshop is located at kilometer 19 of the Quibdó-Yuto highway, municipality of Atrato, next to the so-called Chocó stadium.
This contract violates the POT of the municipality of Atrato and the urban regulations because it was carried out, without planning, in a rural area of the municipality of Atrato, where there are no public services.
The advance payments for this contract were not administered by a trust, they were transferred directly to the contractor. Previous studies were poorly done. This physical conditioning does not have protection or finishes, it has bad electrical networks, it has not worked
3. Contract 003 of October 8, 2020for a value of 6,222 million pesos, for the construction (first phase) of the Technological Development Center for Wood, signed by David Mosquera, rector of the UTCH, with César Augusto García Pino, from the Atrato 2020 consortium.
This contract had bad and not very serious previous studies, the plans do not match the plot of land, without an environmental management plan. There was apparent bidding, there was criminal management of the advance. There was no real tender, it did not have a guarantee policy but a useless bond, which is not a guarantee of anything. The contracting principle was violated.
“This Center is a white elephant, next to the so-called Chocó stadium, another white elephant,” said the prosecutor.
This Center was contracted violating the POT of the municipality of Atrato, in an area without public services.
Despite the fact that the requirement of establishing a trust (with Banco de Bogotá) was met, 311 million pesos were transferred directly to the contractor and only four useless holes (cavities or excavations) were made. There was no investment plan here, without justification.
The work began on April 21, 2021 and on July 9, 2021 it was suspended.
4. Irregular commission and per diem advances
The Maderas Chocó project has become a petty cash for several UTCH officials. Commission advances were paid with all kinds of irregularities for trips to Bogotá, Medellín and various municipalities of Chocó.
There was an advance of ten million pesos to socialize and launch on July 29, 2021 a wood transformation center in Bahía Solano. This center does not exist and a certificate of permanence was falsified.
New advances were paid without legalizing previous advances.
On September 30, 2021, a false advance for 26.7 million pesos was approved to hold a discussion about the center of wood in Carmen de Atrato. A certificate of permanence was provided by a Codechocó official in Carmen de Atrato, who said that they forged his signature.
An advance of 30 million pesos was approved to carry out the project closing workshop on September 2, 2021 in Belén de Bajirá. It was all a lie.
An advance of 39 million pesos was approved to hold workshops on July 22, 2021 in Nuquí and Pizarro. An invoice was provided for two charter flights from the company Chocó Fly SAS. The manager of this company said that at that time it did not work, that they did not carry out said charter flights and that this invoice is false. A certificate of permanence from a Codechocó official was also attached, which turned out to be false.
The prosecutor’s office charged those captured with the crimes of contracting without compliance with legal requirements and/or embezzlement in favor of third parties.
Tomorrow, February 6, the hearing will continue.