‘Corruption Costs Colombia $4 Billion a Year’

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According to Colombia’s Attorney General, corruption costs the country $4.2 billion dollars a year, and just seven percent of all cases are under investigation.

Attorney General Vivian Morales told Caracol Radio that out of the 19,379 corruption cases currently being handled at the Justice Department , only 1,422 investigations are advancing. Colombia only has 30 prosecutors dedicated to handling corruption investigations, she said, meaning each one is responsible for handling about 400 cases a year.

According to the 2009 Global Corruption Report by Transparency International, Colombia ranks 80th out of 180 countries in terms of corruption levels.

2011 has seen its fair share of corruption scandals in Colombia — including a public works scandal in Bogota that resulted in the suspension of Bogota’s mayor  — but so far none have dented the popularity levels of President Juan Manuel Santos, who has 70 percent approval rating. According to a survey by Caracol Radio, 57 percent of Colombians trust the president’s office, while only 24 percent trust government ministers and just 14 percent trust elected officials.

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