Colombia's lie detector tests to spot graft

Colombia's government plans to carry out lie detector tests on senior civil servants who allocate contracts to private companies.
Colombia's government plans to carry out lie detector tests on senior civil servants who allocate contracts to private companies.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

BOGOTA • Colombia's government plans to carry out lie detector tests on senior civil servants who allocate contracts to private companies, as it tries to clamp down on widespread corruption and embezzlement of public funds.

Polygraphy will be used initially to test executives in the 72 government departments that have so far signed up to a transparency pact.

The executives will be tested before and after concluding contracts for provision of goods and services to the government.

The country's Vice-President, Mr German Vargas Lleras, is promoting the lie detector tests to boost investor confidence as the government allocates contracts to upgrade the national road network, estimated to cost more than US$20 billion (S$27 billion).

In one of Colombia's most shocking public corruption scandals of the past decade, a family with links to a former mayor of capital Bogota made off with up to US$1 billion after the family's company won contracts it barely executed, claiming it ran out of cash.

In a listing compiled by Transparency International last year, Colombia was ranked 94th out of 174 countries for severity of corruption.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2015, with the headline 'Colombia's lie detector tests to spot graft'. Print Edition | Subscribe