Judge who suspended Bogota mayor’s dismissal investigated for millionaire status

Posted on Mar 13 2014 - 11:38am by Rico
Jose Maria Armenta (Photo: Colprensa)

Judicial authorities are investigating the judge who temporarily suspended the December dismissal of the mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota after revelations regarding the judge’s excessive wealth, local media reported Thursday.

The disciplinary board of the Supreme Council of the Judiciary opened a formal investigation into Judge Jose Armenta of the Administrative Court of Cundinamarca for alleged irregular purchase of plots of land worth millions along Colombia ‘s border with Panama.

MORE: Court suspends dismissal of Bogota mayor

Armenta reportedly purchased plots of land worth millions in the Caribbean municipality of Acandi, northwest Colombia — lands which he should not be able to afford on his salary, bringing into question illegal activity as being the root of his wealth.

The land was in the Hacienda La Diana, situated in the Paradise Bay of Sapzurro where two and a half acres of land sell for $1 million. Therefore, the fact that the Judge and his wife now legally own over 84 acres of land (worth about $34 million) raised questions within the Supreme Court.

The judge was originally denounced by journalist Daniel Coronell in Semana magazine who outlined not only that the Judge should not be able to afford such prime real estate but that, once he had signed the deed, a collective decision was made to drastically raise house prices in the area.

According to Coronell, the only way the judge was able to own such a luxurious estate was through “dodgy dealings and legal loopholes.”

The moral integrity of Armenta’s decision to suspend Mayor Petro’s dismissal was also called into question when it was uncovered that Armenta’s wife has run the Bogota water company with Petro’s support and financial backing.

The disciplinary board will first look into the origins of the millionaire judge’s funds to determine if the influx of money came when he worked as a trial attorney or in his current position as a magistrate.


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