28. December 2018

Remembering Rafael Merchan, pioneer of the HLRM in Colombia

The Basel Institute was shocked and saddened to hear of the death of Rafael Merchan, the former Secretary of Transparency of Colombia, at his home over the Christmas holiday. He had been due to testify in the Odebrecht related case concerning the Ruta del Sol road development; his death follows the suspicious demise of another witness in the case, the former auditor Jorge Enrique Pizano.

We remember Rafael Merchan as the Secretary of Transparency under whose leadership Colombia established the world’s first High Level Reporting Mechanism (HLRM) to help prevent corruption in infrastructure projects; highly timely and relevant in view of the Oderbrecht related scandals that have been revealed across Latin America in the past couple of years. He spoke openly and with enthusiasm about Colombia’s journey to combat corruption in infrastructure at the 2014 workshop organized by the British Embassy in Bogota, which sparked great interest in the HLRM in several countries of the region. Rafael Merchan’s role and inspirational support will endure as part of his legacy to promoting economic development through clean business.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and colleagues at this time.