Former Colombian minister to be arrested over scandal

16:41, July 22, 2011      

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Former Colombian Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias was requested to be taken into custody Thursday over a scandal.

Evidence showed that the former minister was using a governmental agriculture program as a source of funding for his presidential campaign.

Colombian Attorney General Viviane Morales announced the arrest, saying it was necessary to detain Arias to avoid an obstruction during the investigation. Reports showed that the former minister had already visited other suspects believed to be involved in the scandal in prison, trying to change their testimonies.

The attorney general barred Arias Tuesday from holding public office for 16 years.

The agriculture program, proposed and executed by Arias, was aimed at subsidizing poor farmers. However, a Colombian magazine reported that the subsidies went to the wealthiest families in the country instead.

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