Former vice-minister turns key witness in AIS embezzlement case

Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has dropped all charges against a former vice minister of agriculture after he vowed to testify against other suspects, including the former minister, in a major embezzlement scandal.

According to reports, Juan Camilo Salazar will not be prosecuted for his role in the Agro Ingreso Seguro scandal in which allegedly 25 millions dollars in state subsidies were embezzled and ended up in the hands of wealthy and politically powerful families instead of poor farmers.

The main suspect in the case is former Minister Andres Felipe Arias, who is jailed while awaiting trial.

The deal between the former agriculture official and the Prosecutor General’s Office was approved by a judge Friday.

According to Salazar, his former superior was fully aware of the embezzlement of money to families who later financially supported Arias’ run for the Conservative Party’s candidacy for the 2011 election.

Arias, who came to rise under the presidency of former President Alvaro Uribe, has always denied having masterminded the embezzlement and has blamed lower officials for the scandal.

Related posts

ELN kills at least 9 soldiers in northeast Colombia: military

Colombia and US revising bilateral cooperation

Central Colombia mining disaster kills 21, rescue attempts ended