Ex-ministers questioned over AIS spending

The Comptroller General’s Office is questioning ex-Agricultural Ministers Andres Felipe Arias and Andres Fernandez over suspected irregularities in $5.5 million in advertising spending by the Agro Ingreso Seguro subsidies program.

“Contracts signed during the administration of former ministers of Agriculture, Andres Felipe Aria and Andres Fernandez, have raised questions over alleged irregularities in their development,” confirmed comptroller Sandra Morelli.

The official said that the results of this preliminary investigation, available within two weeks, will determine whether there will be an investigation by the prosecutor general.

Arias was implicated in a scandal over the misuse of the AIS subsidies, which broke in 2009. The minister was accused of granting government funds, intended to go to poor farmers in order to reduce rural inequality, to certain companies and affluent Colombian families.

Arias resigned in February 2009 in order to run for president, and Fernandez took over his post.

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