Colombia’s former Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias will be expelled from the Conservative Party if convicted of embezzlement, said the party’s ethics committee president Tuesday.
Senator Efrain Sarabria Cepeda, said statutes required that “all party members who have been convicted” of a crime be expelled.
Arias is on trial for embezzlement charges over his alleged role in the Agro Ingreso Seguro (AIS) corruption scandal. He was responsible for the creation of the AIS, an agricultural subsidy program which allegedly redirected $25 million of funds meant for poor farmers.
In the biggest scandal to ever hit the Colombian agricultural industry, wealthy families, politicians’ family members, beauty queens and then-President Alvaro Uribe supporters were given huge sums of money that was intended for poor farmers to “promote productivity and competition and reduce inequality.”