Medellín Mayor Daniel Quintero, EPM Head Jórge Andrés Carrillo Under New Prosecutorial Investigation
The drama surrounding the Hidroituango Hydroelectric Project and the Medellín Mayor’s Office has not slowed down with the first turbine going into service. Now, Colombia’s public prosecutor’s office has opened an inquest into Medellín Mayor Daniel Quintero (above, left) and his appointed General Manager of city-owned utility conglomerate EPM (Empresas Públicas de Medellín), Jorge Andrés Carrillo (above, right).
According to an edict issued by the Prosecutor General of Colombia on January 4th of this year they have:
“Opened a preliminary investigation against Daniel Quintero Calle, as mayor of Medellin D.C.T.I., as president of the Board of Directors, Jorge Andres Carrillo Cardoso as manager and others to be determined, members of the Board of Directors of Empresas Publicas de Medellin – EPM, for the alleged omission of the obligation to insure the Ituango Hydroelectric project against all risks in force 2021.”
Essentially, the investigation is looking into whether Quintero, as EPM’s chairman of the board of directors, and General Manager Jorge Andrés Carrillo allowed or caused mandatory insurance coverage on the Hidroituango project to lapse in 2021. Instead, EPM may have improvised, self-insuring itself to the tune of $23 million USD, a tiny amount compared to the value and potential risk of the project.
Colombia has a dual prosecutorial system, with the Fiscalia equivalent to general prosecutors of most crimes by private citizens and companies, while the Procuraduria is a prosecution structure focused specifically on public sector corruption, malfeasance by government entities, civil servants, and elected officials.
Daniel Quintero made a political point of going to battle against CCCI, the consortium that began construction of the Hidroituango project, and instead sought to re-bid the unfinished $5 billion USD project. One problem he faced is that no insurer wanted to participate by insuring the rebid contract after hundreds of millions of dollars in claims have already been paid.
This is the second investigation the Procuraduria has opened against Quintero, as it is also looking into irregularities in his “Software Valley” project, that was supposed to open 21 software centers throughout the city to promote education and entrepreneurial activity. Though contracts have been issued and money paid, according to local daily El Colombiano, though the mayor promised 21 new software centers, seven counted as new are actually existing facilities, and 14 don’t exist at all.