ColombiaOne.comColombia newsColombia Passport Scandal: Petro Makes Serious Accusations Against Thomas Greg & Sons

Colombia Passport Scandal: Petro Makes Serious Accusations Against Thomas Greg & Sons


Petro Thomas Greg & Sons
President Petro makes serious accusations against the company Thomas Greg & Sons – Credit: Eneas de Troya / CC BY 2.0

The President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, has made serious accusations against the company Thomas Greg & Sons, with which he has been in a major dispute since the outbreak of the passport bidding conflict which, for now, has ended with the temporary dismissal of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alvaro Leyva.

Thomas Greg & Sons is a Colombian multinational that, in addition to issuing passports in Colombia, has several other contracts with the State. While the Colombian justice system investigates the failed bidding process of the millionaire passport contract, the disagreements between members of the government and the multinational have been constant.

Now, the president accuses the company of having control of the country’s elections, a statement that has already been answered by the responsible public body, which has assured that Thomas Greg & Sons “does not have control over the electoral scrutiny”.

Thomas Greg & Sons, political lobby

President Gustavo Petro has once again questioned the contracts that the company Thomas Greg & Sons has with different state entities. Through his social networks, the president accused the multinational of having in its hands all the functions of the Registrar’s Office, from the scrutiny, vote counting and voter database.

“What is being built in Colombia can definitely affect democracy. In the last year Thomas (Greg) & Sons owned by the Bautista brothers and lobbied by very, very powerful politicians, have managed to control the entire database of Colombians in the Registry and at the same time control the scrutiny of the elections. They have control of the two levers of the election. A private company…..completely controls the elections and can make a monumental fraud”, said the president.

In addition, Gustavo Petro accused the company of not obeying the Supreme Court in its judicial rulings. “They went (against) the order of the Council of State to change the software in the Registry and now they have all the ID and they want to complete with the passports”, added the head of state in his harsh statements.

These serious accusations of the president, however, have been immediately rejected by the Registry, which is the public entity in charge of the electoral count, among other things. This source insisted that Thomas Greg & Sons does not participate in the counting process and that it is only part of the logistics of the elections.

Trouble with passport bidding

It should be recalled that the controversies between the Colombian government and the multinational company began when the bidding process for the issuance of passports was declared null and void. Until now, and for 17 years, Thomas Greg & Sons has been the company in charge of this task, but in the process for the awarding of the new contract, initially valued at 599,000 million pesos, disagreements arose that prevented the company from continuing with this task, although it had applied for the new contract.

Recently, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luis Gilberto Murillo, finally awarded the contract for the production of passports to the company, in spite of the lawsuit that the company maintains against the State for the failed first tender, since December last year. In this lawsuit, the company requests a compensation of 117,000 million pesos, arguing that it could keep the initial bidding for 599,000 million pesos to make the passports, since it says it complied with all the requirements for the printing of the documents.

The controversy, however, will continue, as President Petro disqualified and called “traitor” the secretary general of the ministry, Jose Antonio Salazar, who was the official who ended up awarding the contract to Thomas Greg & Sons, according to him in compliance with his legal obligations. “I am a loyal man, a man who fulfills his duty, a Christian, and I act in accordance with the constitution and the law,” Salazar told the newspaper El Tiempo.

Thomas Greg & Sons is a Colombian company founded in 1864 by Thomas Greg, an Irish immigrant settled in the country. It started as a printing company and became a reference in document management and technological solutions. Today it is a powerful multinational that has managed to win several public contracts with the Colombian government.

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