Gustavo Petro
Gustavo Petro is himself a former urban guerrilla and Colombia's first-ever leftist president. Photo by: AFP/Daniel Munoz

Colombia's inspector general hit foreign minister Alvaro Leyva with a three-month suspension from his position on Wednesday following allegations of irregularities in the tender process for passport production in the country.

The foreign minister annulled the bidding process after Thomas Greg & Sons, a company that was already involved in Colombian passport production, tendered an offer. To produce passports urgently, the government permitted the company to continue printing while making preparations for a new tender round.

"The Foreign Minister could have incurred two disciplinary offenses, provisionally classified as very serious," the inspector general said in a statement, as per Reuters.

The statement mentioned that declaring the bidding process void and the process urgent could be possible offenses, adding that "the minister could have overstepped his duties."

Colombia's inspector general is authorized to investigate public officials and find them guilty of any offense. Offending officials can then be removed from their respective positions.

Leyva was suspended over the accusations so he would not commit the possible offenses. After returning to his position, the minister will be responsible for overseeing the new bidding process. This was confirmed by the inspector general's official X account on Wednesday.

The Colombian government is working toward fixing all kinds of crime in the country. Last week, the government extended the ceasefire with the FARC-EMC rebel group to facilitate peace talks and reduce violence, especially in the rural parts of the country.

The Latin American country is also trying to boost its tourism industry. It recently launched a new slogan — "The Country of Beauty" — at Times Square in the United States. Colombia has witnessed an increase in the arrival of tourists from the U.S. in recent years. The relationship between these two countries has evolved, with the former improving its safety and reputation to attract more international tourists.

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