A Colombian agricultural subsidy program, Agro Ingreso Seguro (AIS), which was accused of corruption last year, funded a Brazilian firm that fraudulently purchased 13,000 hectares of land, reports El Espectador.
According to Colombian law foreign farming companies are only allowed to hold a maximum of 1,000 hectares of land.
In June 2008 Monica Semillas de Bolivia, a subsidiary of the Brazilian firm Monica, opened Monica Colombia Ltd. El Espectador reports that the firm opened other subsidiary companies and acquired up to 13,000 hectares of land for Monica Colombia Ltd.
When the Ministry of Agriculture discovered the company’s actions Wilson Arias, a ministry of agriculture representative, investigated whether Monica had also received subsidies through the AIS.
The ministry discovered that Monica and three of its subsidiary firms received COP692 million each in 2009 as “incentives.” One of the subsidiary firms also received COP890 million as a special line of credit.
AIS was shut down due to corruption accusations but is scheduled to relaunch in January 2011.