The theft of thousands of dollars from the house of Laura Sarabia, head of President Gustavo Petro’s cabinet, and the polygraph test performed on the ex-nanny of the high official’s son to determine if she is responsible for the act, have generated controversy in Colombia in through the opening of investigations by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office to determine if the right hand of the president committed an abuse of power.
Semana magazine published an extensive interview with Marelbys Meza, the former nanny of Sarabia’s son, who stated that on January 30, a polygraph test was performed on her, which would have been carried out irregularly and without registration, in the basement of the residence of the head of the cabinet, located in front of the Casa de Narino.
According to her version, she was intimidated by security agents, without respecting the presumption of innocence because she was lost. cash that was in a briefcase inside Sarabia’s house.
Faced with these affirmations, both the head of the cabinet and the Colombian Presidency have asserted that the investigation was carried out within the framework of the law, without mistreatment of the former worker.
The ex-nanny’s story
“They did a polygraph on me and they told me: ‘You can make fun of that device, but you can’t make fun of us. She’s not going home tonight, she’s going to jail from hereand we are going to raid all your brothers and you,'” he told the opposition publication.
Meza added that it would have been Harold Rondon, a driver from the National Protection Unit (UNP) at the service of Sarabia, who looked for her at her home to have the test performed.
“They took me to a basement where the polygraphy is. I had my ID, but I did not sign anything, no record. When I was in the basement, I felt kidnapped, dazed, drownedwaiting for them to do the polygraph,” he said.
He said he felt “fear” in the midst of alleged accusations about unproven facts. They told me: “‘You are a thief, a liar, from here you go straight to jail,'” she recounted.
Although the ex-nana says that an investigation was opened at the Prosecutor’s Office for the theft of 30 million pesos (about 6,760 dollars), she assures that a police officer would have told her that it was 150 million (about 33,800 dollars).
Regarding the sum, Sarabia published a trill in which he denies that version and maintains that the sum does not exceed $7,000.
My family and I were victims of a robbery. The Prosecutor’s Office investigates who gave the version to Semana as responsible. The presidential protection headquarters and the Sijin acted by applying the protocols within the framework of the law. pic.twitter.com/sUTo923Evb
— Laura Sarabia (@laurisarabia) May 27, 2023
That amount was in his possession because it corresponded to “payments of official travel expenses made during August 2022 and January 2023”, and which are delivered to them in foreign currency, he explained.
“In any case It is not true that a suitcase full of money had been stolenwhich is known to the authorities who were aware of the procedures,” he added.
In another tweet, Sarabia said that the Public Ministry was aware of the robbery and that it is investigating “as person in charge who gave the version to Semana“, that is, to his ex-nanny.
Regarding the theft of which my family was a victim and I reported it to the authorities in a timely manner, I inform that it was for an amount in dollars not exceeding USD 7,000, corresponding to payments of official travel expenses made during August 2022 and January 2023 and that we are… pic.twitter.com/PBAUGZNeG8
— Laura Sarabia (@laurisarabia) May 27, 2023
Regarding the alleged irregularities in the procedures, he assured that the actions were carried out following the legal protocols by the Presidential Protection Headquarters and the Judicial Investigation Section of the National Police (SIJIN).
More versions found
In an interview she gave to Semana editor Vicky Davila, Petro’s chief of staff denied that Meza had been coerced or threatened.
“I ask her if she is willing to submit to the polygraph, as my entire security scheme was submitted. She says she doesn’t have a problem“, he referred.
Sarabia expressed that the polygraph procedures are recorded so this is “proof that at that time everything was done under the law. Nothing was ever done against anyone“. However, he acknowledged that a judicial test had not been issued to practice it.
When inquiring about the results, he announced that Meza “lost the test”, adding that both the former babysitter and the rest of the security personnel were changed, on recommendation.
In a statement to the media, the attorney general, Francisco Barbosa, said that Sarabia and other officials will be called to testify in the Meza case.
The head of the Public Ministry classified the information presented by Semana as “very serious” and said that the former babysitter, in turn, denounced Sarabia and requested protection from the authorities. “The Prosecutor’s Office is protecting her at this time“, accurate.
In the same way, he stated that the prosecuting entity “is the only one” that “can carry out investigative processes on acts constituting a crime,” reports the Colombian newspaper El Pais.
Barbosa maintained that the polygraph test was carried out “outside the orbit” of that institution and that no order was issued.
For her part, the attorney general, Margarita Cabello, said that an “investigation” of all the parties involved would be launched and that an order was issued to “verify if the polygraph could be used,” according to Publimetro.
On his Twitter account, the president wrote: “Today was a day full of lies,” as a comment on the statement issued by the Presidency to establish his position on the matter.
The letter rejects the versions “on alleged abuses of power, misuse of public resources and mistreatment of defenseless people” and adds that the procedures were carried out within the framework of the law, as recorded in audios and videos.
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