Colombia C

Download a detailed summary of the results for this country.

Download the complete assessment for this country.

Colombia is placed in Band C.  In relation to political corruption risk,  enforcement of the Law 1474 of 2011 has led to several anti-corruption initiatives and action being taken to combat corruption in the country. Mechanisms to facilitate legislative scrutiny and oversight of defence and security policy are in place. There is an Anti-Corruption Statute and working groups to combat corruption covering all government ministries. Colombia has signed and ratified international anti-corruption instruments such as the UNCAC and the ICAC, although inadequacies in adherence have been brought to light when scandals have emerged. The defence budget is transparent and publicly available, and there are efficient processes of internal and external audit. Defence and security establishments are legally removed from having financial or controlling interests related to natural resources. Yet evidence suggests that organised crime elements within the security sector remain, despite improvements in the recent past as a result of concerted government action. A new intelligence agency is in the process of being set up, and is currently responsible only to the executive, with its policies yet to be subject to parliamentary scrutiny. The previous agency was shut down as a result of activities such as the wire-tapping of high courts. While improvements have been made with regard to the adherence of arms control processes with international standards, their scrutiny remains of uncertain quality.

Regarding finance corruption risk, asset disposals by defence establishments have strong controls and mechanisms for scrutiny. Less than one per cent of the overall defence budget is spent on secret items by state security and defence organisations, which is subject to audits available to the legislature and the public. Off-budget expenditures are not legally permitted, nor is there evidence of them in practice. While several commercial businesses are owned by the Ministry of Defence (MOD), they are publicly declared and their finances are scrutinised by Congress. Nevertheless, the current legislation regulating classified information extended the period of holding such information from the public up to 40 years, with the President having the authority to increase it by another 15 years.

In regard to personnel corruption risk, in the wake of scandals, there have been recent incidences of commitment to anti-corruption by the MOD. Although payment systems have been severely criticised, they are strong and there is no evidence of the existence of ghost soldiers. There is a legal framework regulating the appointments and promotions of personnel, and there is evidence of effectiveness to this extent. There is legislation dealing with transnational bribes and facilitation payments, backed by mechanisms assessed to be effective and with few shortcomings.

The National Anti-Corruption Statute of 2011 is applied to the operations of the armed forces. There are general anti-corruption classes and seminars for defence and security personnel, though not specific to operations corruption risk. Controls over Private Military Contractors (PMCs) are regulated, although foreign contracts are not always scrutinised by Congress and as such are not as accountable to the government or the public.

Regarding procurement corruption risk, there is extensive legislation on government defence and security procurement and high transparency to the public with regard to purchases and the procurement cycle process. Evidence indicates the potential for the practice of open competition and deterrence of collusion through strong legislation, which also enables companies to complain about perceived malpractice while protecting them from future discrimination. Furthermore, offsets contracts are said to be transparent and well-regulated and financing packages are openly published. Improvements are reportedly advised in relation to the control of the use of intermediaries in the procurement process and in sanctions to punish corrupt suppliers  ̶ two areas in which confidence is rather less.

Research finalised: March 2012

Click here to read more