Colombian President Alvaro Uribe on Tuesday called on President-elect Juan Manuel Santos’ incoming administration to defend the controversial agricultural subsidies program, known as AIS, “like lions,” LAFM reports.
“The AIS must be defended, you cannot discredit the instrument. Therefore we must be like lions in defense of something that has brought honor and love to Colombia, ” Uribe of the scandal-ridden scheme, whose aim is to provide agricultural subsidies to small-scale farmers.
However, the subsidies scheme drew nationwide criticism when it was revealed that the the government allegedly granted funds to certain companies and affluent Colombian families.
The prosecutor general cast the scheme into further disrepute when he revealed in early July that three alleged drug traffickers were also recipients of the subsidies.
Uribe added that Andres Felipe Arias, the former agriculture minister who was implicated in the scandal, is “very important for the future of Colombia.”
Arias is currently under investigation for corruption in the granting of agriculture subsidies under the AIS program.