Corruption in the Colombian Healthcare: “The Generous Liquidator” – By Daniel Coronell

The person responsible for the liquidation of Saludcoop (the largest healthcare insurer in Colombia) is a very skilled lawyer, who had been, however, hopelessly caught in his fault.
The liquidator of Saludcoop ordered to double the salary to a unionist capable of threatening their plans to sell one of the satellite companies of Saludcoop. The evidence of what appears to be the bribery of a unionist is in a telephonic conversation recorded during an investigation carried out by the authorities to detect possible irregularities in the liquidation of the giant Colombian health insurer.
The unionist is also a lawyer. His name is John Colmenares Herrera, secretary general of Unitracoop, which is the association of workers Saludcoop group and other companies in the healthcare sector. In addition to his duties as a unionist, John works as coordinator of a unit of Jurisalud, which is just one of the former satellite companies of Saludcoop.
In recent weeks, the liquidator Leguizamón has had among its priorities to prepare the sale of a company called Esimed. In the corporate web of Saludcoop, Esimed was responsible for intermediating the hiring of hospitals, it belongs to Cafesalud (just one more head of the hydra).
The liquidator Leguizamón wants to hurry because he knows that is selling just a piece of paper. On the one hand, Esimed does not own the clinics, it own the contracts. On the other hand, he is concerned about the workload because of the number of workers affiliated to various labor unions.
Soon after Leguizamón came to the company he started to receive inquiries from the trade union Unitracoop – whose secretary is John Colmenares – intended to guarantee job security for workers of Saludcoop entities (Epsifarma, Cafesalud, Cepain, Esimed, among others) workers.
The request of Unitracoop would certainly decrease the value of Esimed, a company that they are wearing as the “pretty girl” before selling it.
And this is where the conversation comes, Leguizamon asks to their subordinate for the wages of the unionists and gives the following instructions:
– ¿How much John Colmenares earn? asks the liquidator agent.
Re: The subaltern replies: John Colmenares earn as coordinator 5½ (million Colombian pesos).
– Increase it, adjust it.
Re: Ok, doctor.
– About 8 or 9 or 10, do what you can. Tell him that his is an instruction of the liquidator -Leguizamón reiterates -. He already knows what this is about.
Re: Ok, Doctor.
– Ok, bye.
Re: Bye, Doctor 
When I called Dr. Leguizamon to ask about these facts, I was warned before starting the conversation that “all these phones have been intervened.”
Seconds later and upon the question, he told me that he didn’t know who John Colmenares was: “I do not know, I don’t have the name at hand.” When I pressed about his request to increase the salary of the unionists from 5 million to 8, 9 or 10 million, he replied: “I do not have the power to do so. I have no reason or interest in doing so.”
He assured me that he never gave such instructions verbally, trying always to do it formally in order to keep a record. The recorded conversation shows a very different thing.
I also talked to the unionist John Colmenares Herrera, who has a better memory. He acknowledges that he has met twice with Dr. Leguizamon. However, he said that nobody has offered any increases in his salary, either directly or through an intermediary: “No, no, no, no … not at all.”
John, the trade unionist, told me a detail that seems to coincide with the situation described in the intercepted conversation. His current position in Jurisalud is “coordinator of the Contentious Administrative Unit,” earning 5 and a half million (Colombian pesos).
According to him, because of his good performance and seniority, he will be promoted in the coming days to “assistant legal director of Jurisalud”. When I asked about his new salary, he replied: “Eight hundred million, integral salary”.
The last meeting of Jurisalud partners was chaired by the liquidator agent Luis Leguizamón. The record of this meeting states that he acts  “as president of this assembly with the required majority to deliberate and make decisions.”

Acknowledgments: John D. for his support and motivation leading to the translation of this article.

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