When officials in his home state began giving food boxes to families hit by Colombia’s coronavirus lockdown, lawmaker Ricardo Quintero was struck by the exorbitant prices being paid to the vendors. So he armed himself with pictures of the coffee, pasta and other goods and went down to his local grocery store.
There, he bought the same products for roughly half the supposedly bulk-rate prices being paid by the government of Cesar state. The comparison shopping prompted one of what is now 14 coronavirus-related criminal probes in Colombia. The South American country is one of many around the world now seeing a surge in corruption allegations.
“You can always find corruption,” Quintero said. “But what hurts the most is that we see it now, at a time like this.”