TITLE X CONCERNING THE SUPERVISORY BODIES
CHAPTER 1 CONCERNING THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE REPUBLICArticle 267
Fiscal control is a public function to be exercised by the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic, which oversees the fiscal management of the administration and of individuals or entities which handle funds or assets belonging to the nation.
Said control will be exercised selectively ex post facto in accordance with the procedures, systems, and principles established by law. However, the law may authorize that in special cases, Colombian private enterprises, selected on the basis of a public performance contest and contracted according to the plan of the Council of State, may conduct the supervision.
The supervision of the state is fiscal management includes the exercise of financial control, management, and performance, based on the efficiency, economy, equity, and estimate of environmental costs.
In exceptional cases stipulated by law, the Office of the Comptroller General may exercise subsequent control over the accounts of any territorial entity. The Office of the Comptroller General is an entity of a technical character with administrative and budgetary authority. it will not have administrative functions distinct from those inherent in its own organization.
The Comptroller General will he elected by the whole Congress during the first months of the legislative session for a period equal to that of the President of the Republic, from a list of three candidates, consisting of one nominated by the Constitutional Court, one by the Supreme Court of Justice, and one by the State Council, and may not be reelected for the term immediately following nor continue in the exercise of his/her functions once the term has expired.
Anyone who has held the office of Comptroller General may not hold any other public office at the national level, nor present him/herself is a candidate in a popular election until one year following retirement from this office. Only the Congress may accept the resignation of a Comptroller General and elect a successor; temporary vacancies will be filled by the State Council.
In order to be elected Comptroller General, the candidate must be a Colombian citizen by birth, over 35 years of age, hold a university degree or have been a university professor during no less than 5 years and possess any additional qualifications required by law.
No one who has been a congressman or held a public office at the national level, except for a teaching position, in the year immediately preceding the election, may be elected to the office of Comptroller General. Neither may anyone who has been sentenced to prison for common crimes.
In no case may anyone who is related by the fourth degree of consanguinity, affinity two ranks removed, or one rank removed in civil law, intervene in the candidacy or election of the Comptroller General.Article 268
The Comptroller General of the Republic will have the following powers:
- To prescribe the methods and form for rendering account by those responsible for the handling of funds or assets of the nation and to stipulate the financial and operational criteria that must be followed for the purpose of evaluation.
- To review and close the accounts kept by those responsible for public funds and to determine the level of efficiency, effectiveness, and economy with which they performed.
- To keep a record of the public debt of the nation and its territorial entities.
- To request reports on fiscal management from the official employees of any order and from any individual or public or private entity that administers the funds or assets of the nation.
- To establish where responsibility lies in fiscal management, impose financial sanctions as necessary, collect these amounts, and exercise compelling jurisdiction on the amounts deducted.
- To plan for quality and efficiency in internal fiscal control of the entities and organs of the state. To present an annual report to the Congress of the Republic on the state of the natural resources and of the environment.
- To initiate before the competent authorities, providing the relevant evidence, penal or disciplinary investigations regarding damage caused to the patrimonial interests of the state. The Office of the Auditor General has the power to demand, on the strength of the facts and in good faith, the immediate suspension of officials until the investigations or appropriate legal procedures are completed.
- To present government bills concerning the system of fiscal control and the organization and functioning of the Office of the Comptroller General.
- To provide through public competitive examinations employment under his/her authority established by law. The law will determine a special system of rules for the selection, promotion, and retirement of the employees of the Office of the Comptroller General. Anyone who is a member of the bodies involved in the candidacy and election of the Comptroller General is prohibited from giving personal or political recommendations for positions in the Office of the Comptroller General.
- To present reports to the Congress and the President of the Republic on the exercise of his/her functions and certification of the finances of the state in accordance with the law.
- To dictate general regulations to harmonize the systems of fiscal control of all the public entities at the national and territorial levels.
- Other matters stipulated by law.
The authorities of public bodies must design and implement methods and procedures of internal control in accordance with the provisions of the law, which may stipulate certain exceptions and authorize the contracting for said services with private Colombian enterprises.Article 270
The law will organize the forms and rules of citizen participation which allow their participation in the supervision of public management which occurs at the various administrative levels.Article 271
The results of the preliminary inquiries undertaken by the Office of the Comptroller General will have approbatory value before the Off-ice of the Attorney General of the Nation and the competent judge.Article 272
The supervision of the fiscal administration of the departments, districts, and municipalities where there may be controller's offices is the responsibility of the latter and will be exercised in a subsequent and selective manner.
The supervision of municipalities is incumbent on the departmental controller's offices, except for what the law stipulates concerning the municipal controller's offices.
It is the responsibility of the assemblies and of the district and municipal councils to organize the respective controller's offices as technical entities endowed with administrative and budgetary autonomy. Similarly, they are responsible for electing a controller for a period overlapping that of the governor or mayor, depending on the case, from lists made up of two candidates presented by the Superior Court of the Judicial District and the appropriate Tribunal of Contentious and Administrative Matters.
No controller may be reelected for the period immediately following his/her term:
- and municipal controllers will exercise,
- within the scope of their jurisdiction,
- the functions assigned to the Comptroller General of the Republic in Article 268 and may,
- based on authorization by law,
- contract with private Colombian enterprises for the exercise of fiscal supervision.
In order to be elected departmental, district, or municipal controller, the candidate must be Colombian by birth, a citizen in good standing, be over 25 years old, hold a university degree, and have the other qualifications stipulated by law.
An individual who in the previous year was a member of the assembly or council responsible for electing the controller is not eligible for election, nor is an individual who has held public office at the departmental, district, or municipal level, except for a teaching position. Whoever has occupied the position of departmental, district, or municipal controller may not hold any official position in the same department, district, or municipality, nor be registered as a candidate for popularly elected office except a year after termination of his/her previous functions.Article 273
At the request of any of the proponents, the Comptroller General of the Republic and other competent authorities of fiscal control will order that any award of a bid be conferred in public. The cases in which the mechanism of public awards are made and the manner in which the proposals and the conditions under which they are realized will be stipulated by law.Article 274
The supervision of the fiscal management of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic will be exercised by an auditor elected for a term of two years by the Council of State from a list prepared by the Supreme Court of Justice. The law will determine the manner of exercising said supervision at the departmental, district, and municipal level.
CHAPTER 2 CONCERNING THE PUBLIC MINISTRYArticle 275
The National Attorney General is the supreme director of the Public Ministry.Article 276
The National Attorney General will he elected by the Senate for a period of four years from a list made up of candidates selected by the President of the Republic, the Supreme Court of Justice, and the Council of State.Article 277
The National Attorney General, by himself/herself or through his/her delegates and agents, will have the following functions:
- To supervise compliance with the Constitution, the laws, judicial decisions, and administrative decrees.
- To protect human rights and ensure their effectiveness, with the assistance of the Ombudsman.
- To defend the interests of society.
- To defend the collective interests, especially the protection of the environment.
- To supervise the diligent and efficient exercise of administrative functions.
- To supervise at the highest level the official conduct of those who hold public office, including those popularly elected; exercise on a preferential basis the disciplinary authority; initiate the appropriate investigations and impose the appropriate sanctions in accordance with the law.
- To intervene in legal proceedings before the judicial or administrative authorities when it becomes necessary to defend the legal order, the public domain, or fundamental rights and guarantees.
- To provide an annual report of his/her administration to the Congress.
- To demand from public functionaries and individuals the information that he/she considers necessary.
- Other matters stipulated by law. For the exercise of its functions, the Office of the National Attorney General will have powers of the criminal judicial police and will be authorized to take the measures that it considers necessary.
The National Attorney General will exercise the following functions directly:
- Discharging from office, following a hearing and on the basis of justified reasons, any public officials who are guilty of any of the following offences an evident violation of the Constitution or the laws, deriving evident and profitable material advantage from the exercise of their duties or functions; impeding in a serious manner investiga6ons carried out by the Office of the National Attorney General or by an administrative or legal authority; performing with gross negligence the investigation and sanctioning of the disciplinary offences of employees under their authority or in the denunciation of punishable occurrences that they have cognizance of by virtue of their office.
- Issuing statements in disciplinary proceedings instituted against officials subject to special statutes.
- Presenting government bills relating to matters under his/her jurisdiction.
- Lobbying the Congress to pass laws that ensure the promotion, exercise, and protection of human rights and demanding their compliance by the competent authorities.
- Making proposals concerning the processes of constitutional control.
- Appointing and removing, in accordance with the law, officials and employees under his/her jurisdiction.
The law will determine matters relative to the structure and functioning of the Office of the National Attorney General, will regulate matters relating to employment and competitive examinations and to retirement from the service, to disabilities and incompatibilities, designation, qualifications, compensation, and the disciplinary regime of all officials and employees of said organization.Article 280
The agents of the Public Ministry will have the same qualifications, classification, compensation, rights, and benefits as the magistrates and judges of the higher ranks before whom they exercise their office.Article 281
The Ombudsman will be part of the Public Ministry and will exercise his/her functions under the authority of the National Attorney General. He/she will be elected by the Chamber of Representatives for a period of four years from a list prepared by the President of the Republic.Article 282
The Ombudsman will supervise the promotion, exercise, and publicizing of human rights for which purpose he/she will exercise the following functions:
- Guiding and instructing the inhabitants of the national territory and Colombians abroad in the exercise and defense of their rights before the competent authorities or private entities.
- Publicizing human rights and recommending policies for making them known.
- Invoking the right of habeas corpus and engaging in protective legal action without prejudice to the right of interested parties.
- Organizing and directing the public defense counsel according to the conditions stipulated by law.
- Presenting popular measures in matters falling under his/her jurisdiction.
- Presenting draft bills on matters failing under his/her jurisdiction.
- Making reports to the Congress on the exercise of his/her functions.
- Other matters stipulated by law.
The law will determine matters relating to the organization and functioning of the Office of the Ombudsman.Article 284
Except in the cases provided in the Constitution and the law, the National Attorney General and Ombudsman may request from the authorities any information necessary for the exercise of their functions without any objection possible on any grounds.