Thousands of Colombian citizens held protests in Bogota and other cities on Friday, January 11 to demand the resignation of the country ’s attorney general, Néstor Humberto Martínez, accused of omitting information he had about the corruption case of Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
Martinez is in the eye of a storm because of the accusations made against him from various sectors because he supposedly knew about the corruption of Odebrecht in the country before he took office in August 2016.
The main and biggest protest was a sit-in held in front of the Prosecutor’s Office, in Bogotá, which was guarded by police ready to control disorders.
The Bogota, Cali and Barranquilla sit-ins were convened through social networks by citizen groups and activists and even senators, who agree that Martínez should not continue in Office.
“We want to protect justice, we want to protect the institution from a person with as many impediments as Néstor Humberto Martínez,” said María Fernanda Carrascal, an activist and promoter of the sit-in, told reporters.
She said the rallies arose because of “a number of events, including the death of, under very suspicious conditions of witnesses in the Odebrecht case, and the slow progress of the investigations in the country.”
Martinez was linked to a corruption web after Jorge Enrique Pizano, controller of Ruta del Sol II, built by Odebrechtand who died of a heart attack on November 8, said in a taped interview to News One that the prosecutor knew since 2015 of alleged irregularities in the tender for the construction of the highway.
However, Martínez has denied that he knew of the corruption in Odebrecht before reaching the Prosecutor’s Office, on August 1, 2016, and hat in the information he received from Pizano a year ago it was not clear that it was the payment of bribes.
The Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) of Colombia elected Leonardo Espinosa Quintero in December as the ad hoc prosecutor who will be in charge of three investigations into the case of Odebrecht bribes in Colombia.
The decision came after Colombia’s deputy prosecutor general, María Paulina Riveros, asked the Court to study “the feasibility” of appointing an ad hoc prosecutor after a network of watchdogs presented a challenge to stay away from the investigation into Odebrecht for her closeness to Attorney General Martinez.