Another document has surfaced that has intensified demands that Judge Cesar Reyes answer questions about a suspicious payment of $200,000 his consulting company obtained in 2016 through a contract from the office of then-President Juan Manuel Santos. The new document reveals that the Santos official who supervised the mysterious contract, Elsa Margarita Galera Gélvez, was then given a job in Reyes’ own judge’s chamber after he moved to the Supreme Court.
This means the connections between the money, the judge and Santos’ office migrated to the Supreme Court chambers where Reyes oversaw the case of former President Álvaro Uribe.
Reyes refuses to comment as the revelations mount.
Santos is Uribe’s chief political enemy and the architect of the power-sharing deal with the terrorist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 2016. Reyes is the judge who received the sham case against Uribe in the Supreme Court, interrogated the former president to no avail, and then authored the order to arrest him without charge on August 4, 2020.
The timeline of events detailed in the documents that have become public since Uribe’s arrest continue to suggest a clear conflict of interest that Reyes failed to disclose as he oversaw the Uribe case:
- In 2016, Reyes’ law consultancy obtained a $200,000 contract from the Office of President Juan Manuel Santos, through a “special programs fund”. The huge payout, according to the documents, was to build a spreadsheet – a huge payout to a top litigator for a menial task.
- The highly paid spreadsheet, according to the contract, was related to the special court set up to provide impunity for FARC guerrillas under Santos’ peace deal that would be concluded that same year in Havana, Cuba. Elsa Galera was the supervisor for Santos’ office on Reyes’ contract.
- In 2018, Reyes was named to the Supreme Court. Four days before he took his seat, he sold the legal consultancy. After his company had cashed in, Reyes cashed out.
- In January 2019, we now learn that Reyes hired Galera to work in his chambers as he oversaw the Uribe case.
This week, a member of Colombia’s House of Representatives demanded an official investigation into the contract so that Reyes will be compelled to answer the mounting questions around whether he was ethically impeded from overseeing the already battered “case” against Uribe.
Was there judicial independence in the Uribe case? When will Reyes answer?