Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office agreed to end criminal investigations into former executives of Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht after they agreed to turn government witnesses.
The Prosecutor General’s Office announced Friday that three former executives, Luiz Bueno, Luiz Mameri and Luiz Eduardo Da Rocha, will not be subject to criminal investigations in exchange for their cooperation with justice.
The announcement came hours before thousands took to the streets to demand the resignation of chief prosecutor Nestor Humberto Martinez who is accused of trying to cover up the scandal.
The United States Justice Department (DOJ) has reopened investigations into Odebrecht after indications that former executives failed to fully cooperate about their company’s criminal activity.
Bueno, Mameri and Da Rocha have been trying to reach a plea agreement with Martinez ever since the DOJ in December 2016 accused Odebrecht of bribing officials and politicians throughout Latin America and Africa.
Previous testimonies of these directors have already led to prison sentences for former Senator Otto Bula and Gabriel Garcia, the former Vice-Minister of Transport of former President Alvaro Uribe.
The former Odebrecht chiefs agreed to pay a $6 million compensation to the Colombian state as part of their deal with the prosecution and publicly expressed their remorse over their bribery practices that have destroyed public trust in Colombia’s public institutions.
Bueno, Mameri and Da Rocha additionally promised to never again engage in corruption and apologized for their criminal activities in Colombia that has devastated public confidence in the country’s justice system and in particular the investigation against Odebrecht.
Despite evidence indicating that the chief prosecutor has tried to cover up the scandal, the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the Odebrecht bribery scandal and widespread indignation, Martinez has refused to resign.
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