Colombia: Prosecutor presses criminal charges against Hidroituango Dam’s bosses over malfunctions causing environmental damage to local communities

Author: Emily Hart, Colombia Reports, Published on: 7 March 2019

"Colombia charges former EPM executives over disaster dam's dodgy contracting", 28 Feb 2019

Colombia’s prosecution is pressing criminal charges against the bosses of the Hidroituango Dam, whose recent malfunctions have caused environmental devastation for the Cauca River and its communities.

Investigations of irregularities around contracting, planning, and management are ongoing, and charges of contracting without fulfilling legal requirements – a criminal offence – are expected next month...

...According to Prosecutor General Nestor Humberto Martinez, the rules of transparency, free competition and objective selection were violated...

Luis Gomez, former manager of the Hidroituango Dam, and Luis Velez, former manager of EPM-Ituango – the managing company of the project- will be charged, while eight other individuals will be subject to investigation, all holding directorial roles in the dam and related companies. EPM has said it will cooperate with the criminal investigations...

There are also investigations into the recent management of the project in the face of the crisis which began last May and continues to pose a threat to large numbers of Colombia’s population, as well as causing environmental devastation...

The Inspector General’s Office is investigating the possible mismanagement of solid waste, leading soil erosion and the possible instability of the mountain where the hydroelectric plant is located, where there is now a large sinkhole. The second line of investigation is modifications without the required licenses and permissions according to environmental law. Risk assessment and contingency plans will also be investigated...

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Related companies: EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín)