BOGOTA _ A judge in Colombia has jailed three individuals on charges they stole nearly $800,000 from a program to feed children and lower the infant mortality rate in the country’s poorest state.
Of those jailed one is an employee of Colombia’s state-run welfare agency and the other two are linked to a foundation accused of inflating contracts for services in La Guajira department along the Caribbean coast.
In total 11 people are suspected of scamming the agency out of more than $2 million since 2011.
La Guajira has the highest child malnourishment rate in Colombia, at 11 per cent, and stories of children dying have proliferated recently as a drought affecting the area has intensified. Most of those affected are semi-nomadic Wayuu Indians who have lived on the peninsula for centuries.
The Associated Press