An ongoing investigation into allegations of bribery of politicians has cast a shadow over the progress of Colombia’s Bogotá metro construction project, led by the China Harbor Engineering Corporation (CHEC). This uproar adds to a series of challenges that the consortium faces in its international projects.
“It is important for countries to fully understand Chinese operations,” he said on October 27. a dialogue Vladimir Rovinsky is associate professor of political studies at the University of Ise in Colombia. “This may raise additional questions about how China conducts business and the challenges involved in doing deals with that country.”
In September, the Colombian Journal week The company revealed a secret file detailing improper cash transactions related to the construction of the massive subway project, which implicated a Chinese national, a former Ministry of Transport employee, and prominent political figures.
She stated that the intercepted conversations prompted the authorities to open a file about possible corruption in the metro project week. The most disturbing recordings occurred between January and March 2022, just before Colombia’s congressional elections.
They explain the payment of bribes amounting to over US$2.7 million. The magazine details that about two million dollars of this amount went to the Green Alliance Party to finance legislative campaigns, in exchange for benefiting from contracts for the most important giant project in the country’s history.
In a statement, the Public Prosecutor’s Office affirmed its commitment to investigating these potential acts of corruption that could affect public administration and endanger treasury resources. The Colombian newspaper reported that CHEC denied any connection to allegations of corruption in the context of the construction of the metro. Viewer.
CHEC, a subsidiary of state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), is responsible for the construction, operation and maintenance of Bogotá Metro’s first line for 20 years and controls 85 percent of the consortium that won the contract. Tender for the project. According to reports, both CHEC and CCCC are involved in disputes with businesses in other parts of the world W Radio Columbia On your portal.
In January 2023, Uganda withdrew from CHEC for a US$2.2 million railway construction project, which will connect Kampala, Uganda, to Malaba, Kenya. He stated that this decision was due to the fact that the Chinese company did not comply with one of the contractual obligations: providing financing for the project. Reuters. Given this situation, the government of Uganda is evaluating a Turkish company as an alternative to complete the work.
The expansion of Route 32 in Costa Rica, led by CHEC, has faced numerous challenges, including delays, contractor disputes, seizure issues and modifications, since construction began in 2017. Despite initial expectations of completion in 2020, the extension has been granted. The deadline was extended to March 2024 Costa Rica today.
In Panama, this Chinese company is participating in a consortium to build a bridge over the Panama Canal. Although the project is about to start, Panamanian authorities have already found irregularities in the contract award process, which could cause a delay in the work, the Argentine platform reported. information.
In Bangladesh, CHEC faces charges of paying bribes, according to members of the Bangladeshi government. She is also accused of corruption in the construction of a port in Tanzania, reports the online investigative journalism platform Chinese dialogue.
“Beijing is taking advantage of the ambiguity that exists in public perception and among Latin American leaders,” Rovinsky commented. “It is exploiting this uncertainty to present itself as an understanding and accessible partner, offering financial resources without imposing the same conditions as the United States or Europe, especially with regard to compliance with human rights, labor and environmental laws.”
From the beginning, CHEC’s appointment as leader of the Bogotá Metro Union raised concerns, due to its limited experience in building mass transit systems. He explained that the Bogota metro includes a 24-kilometre bridge and 16 stations information.
A report by consultancy Colombia Political Risk Analysis cites Colombians’ concerns about labor rights violations and the quality of Chinese companies’ products, while the presence of the People’s Republic of China has grown significantly in Colombia in the past decade.
The report also highlights the Colombian government’s unwillingness to have a deeper relationship with China, whether from an economic or geopolitical point of view or in supervising the activities of Chinese infrastructure companies, a problem present in Latin America and other parts of the world. world.
“Colombia is not ready; “There is a significant lack of knowledge about the real China on the part of decision-makers,” Rovinsky commented. “In Colombia, there are completely wrong ideas about what China stands for today; Unfortunately, this is not the first government to fall into this trap.”
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