Colombia’s Inspector General’s Office on Wednesday began a preliminary investigation into alleged ties between Housing Minister German Vargas Lleras and jailed paramilitary warlord “Martin Llanos.”
Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez decided to open an investigation after testimonies of the former ICT director of dismantled intelligence agency DAS, Rafael Garcia, and the former governor of Arauca, Julio Acosta, who had claimed that Vargas met with the warlord when he was senator.
The minister is accused of having had ties with paramilitary groups in the eastern Casanare department where “Llanos” was active until his arrest in February.
Ordoñez requested the Supreme Court to clarify whether there were any past or ongoing investigations against the minister and requested the Prosecutor General’s Office to provide any evidence that could incriminate Vargas, one of the most senior politicians in Colombian politics and grandson of former President Carlos Lleras.
Additionally, the inspector general wants to hear Acosta, in jail for his own alleged ties to paramilitaries, and Garcia, in exile after previous accusations of ties between political figures and paramilitary groups led to death threats.
Colombia’s Inspector General can conduct disciplinary investigations against (former) public officials. The administrative watchdog has no jurisdiction to send convicted politicians to jail.
Vargas is one of hundreds Colombian politicians investigated for ties to paramilitary groups.