Former Colombia President Alvaro Uribe on Monday refused to testify under oath or provide evidence to support his accusations that President Juan Manuel Santos‘ campaign received $2 million in drug money.
After ignoring the first summons that told him to be at the main prosecution office on Monday, Uribe appeared instead on Tuesday, but refused to reaffirm his accusation under oath or surrender evidence the former president claimed to have.
Instead, Uribe wants to testify before the Inspector General’s Office, which is led by a political ally of the former president.
According to Uribe, he does not enjoy the legal guarantees of a fair investigation into his allegations.
Uribe announced that he would instead deliver his evidence — which he claims proves that the president used the alleged payment to cover up debts from his 2010 presidential campaign — to the Inspector General.
In a statement to the press on Tuesday, the senator-elect said that Santos had asked the Prosecutor to compel his appearance. Uribe then compared Santos’ presidency to that of current Venezuelan head of state Nicolas Maduro, positioning himself as persecuted dissident, and victim of presidential interference.
Uribe went on to say that he was being treated as a criminal, not as a witness in the prosecution.
Uribe also said that he has no guarantees of being fairly investigated by the same office for recent criminal proceedings that may involve him, such as the illegal wiretapping scandal that recently tore through the campaign of his party’s presidential candidate, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga.
Allegations against President Santos
In an interview with W Radio last week, Uribe claimed to have “witnesses” to a 2012 payment made to President Juan Manuel Santos by former adviser Juan Jose Rendon, who recently stepped down amid a drug trafficking scandal. Uribe insinuated that the payment was made with drug money, and stated that the funds were intended to cover losses from Santos’ 2010 presidential campaign.
Uribe went on to say that he would reveal his witnesses if and when judicial authorities open an investigation, challenging the Prosecutor General’s Office to look into the money trail.
Subsequently, the Prosecutor General’s Office published a statement declaring that it had “opened an investigation to verify the statements publicly made by the former Mister President of the Republic, Alvaro Uribe Velez.”
To support this investigation, Uribe, who is traveling Colombia as part of Zuluaga’s election campaign, was ordered to appear at the main prosecution office building in the capital Bogota “to, under oath, explain his accusation made on Thursday May 8, and show the documents or evidence he has to support his statements.”
Uribe failed to appear, claiming that the Prosecutor General’s request as well as interviews with the press showed bias and animosity against him, according to reports by El Espectador newspaper.
The senator-elect claims that he presented himself on Tuesday “only to meet his constitutional duty,” and reiterated his intention to follow up with Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, saying “I will deliver the information I received about Mr. Rendon, the Santos campaign, and other possible funding violations to the Inspector General, who last week announced an investigation into the former official German Chica.”
Chica, another former advisor to Santos, admitted to putting Rendon in touch with drug traffickers who apparently wanted to negotiate terms for their surrender in 2011.
Ordoñez has also recently asked a government commission to investigate President Santos for wrongfully using his position to gain political support for his reelection campaign.
- Uribe anunció que presentará pruebas contra campaña Santos a la Procuraduría (El Pais)
- Uribe No Se Presentó A Fiscal Porque No Puede Probar Denuncia: Santos (El Tiempo)
- Comunicado De Prensa 042 (Prosecutor General’s Office)
- Uribe pide que Fiscal y Vicefiscal se declaren impedidos para investigar caso J.J. Rendón (El Espectador)
- Comunicado N° 2 sobre citación a Fiscalía (Alvaro Velez Uribe official web page)