ColombiaOne.comColombia newsFormer Governor of Cesar, Luis Monsalvo Gnecco, Sentenced to 21 Years in...

Former Governor of Cesar, Luis Monsalvo Gnecco, Sentenced to 21 Years in Prison


Luis Monsalvo Gnecco corruption
The former governor of Cesar, Luis Monsalvo Gnecco, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for corruption in contracts – Credit: Government of Cesar

The former regional governor of the department of Cesar, Luis Monsalvo Gnecco, has been sentenced to 21 years in prison for corruption. According to the court sentence, Monsalvo, one of the members of the Gnecco family clan that dominates politics in the department, signed contracts with cost overruns of 3 billion pesos for the operation of the School Feeding Plan (PAE).

The former governor, son of the four-time former social manager of Cesar, Cielo Gnecco Cerchar who was investigated for murder, was found guilty of the crimes of contract without compliance with legal requirements and aggravated embezzlement by appropriation, after it was shown that as governor, in 2015 he generated a multimillion-dollar cost overrun in the contracting of his responsibility.

Under permanent suspicion

In fact, this was the fourth accusation that the Prosecutor’s Office made against the former governor for three different acts of alleged corruption. In one of them, the justice system acquitted him of the crime of voter corruption, after the pacts he signed with low-income people in the capital Valledupar, which allowed him to win the governorship in 2011.

Monsalve Gnecco still has another investigation pending for alleged irregularities in contracts during the Covid-19 pandemic, during his second term as governor. The justice system is studying alleged irregularities and cost overruns, with diversion of capital, during 2020.

For its part, the defense has requested that the sentence imposed is not necessarily served in an ordinary penitentiary center. The defense attorney, the prestigious lawyer Jose Luis Barceló, claims for this the “exemplary” behavior of the condemned.

“My client has complied with his home detention and has attended the proceedings, fulfilled his commitments, complied with the call of the authorities and strictly complied with their decisions,” said Barceló, who announced that he will appeal the sentence.

The Gnecco Clan in El Cesar

The Gnecco family is the family clan that has dominated politics in the Cesar region for years. In the seat of power is the matriarch, Cielo Gnecco Cerchar, mother of the former governor, who is being investigated for the murder of two contractors who allegedly did not want to pay an amount in exchange for the concession of public contracts from the governor’s office.

Cielo Gnecco disappeared in October 2023, after the justice system issued an arrest warrant against her, reappearing shortly after this warrant was revoked. By this month of March, the head of the family clan was free and without investigations against her due to irregularities in the investigation.

In spite of the fact that a prosecutor was supposed to exclusively resolve this appeal, in his decision he revoked the declaration of the criminal acts for which Cielo Gnecco was being investigated as crimes against humanity, annulled the process and precluded the investigation due to the prescription of the criminal action.

The chieftain of the Gnecco clan in Cesar was accused by former paramilitary Julio Manuel Argumedo, alias Gabino, of having ordered the murder of Jairo Alberto Hernández Hinojosa and Carlos Mendoza Guerra, who were contractors of the Governor’s Office.

Luis Monsalvo Gnecco corruption
Investigations against Cielo Gnecco were archived due to irregularities – Credit: Government of Cesar

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