“This hasn’t ended, this is just beginning, my hope is for the truth to be known and I know that we will prove that the Ministry of Agriculture, the minister and deputy ministers always act in an honest way.” These were the words of former Minister of Agriculture, Andrés Felipe Arias, who is currently under investigation for alleged irregularities in the Agro Ingreso Seguro program. Today, for the first time in the past two years, he was able to attend a hearing as a free man after a judge in Bogotá ordered his release.
Arias is accused of embezzlement and entering into contracts without meeting legal requirements. He explained that his defense team is getting ready to introduce many pieces of evidence, “Nearly 300 documents. Then there are many witnesses, like 35, and we will demonstrate that we acted honorably.”
“I was deprived of my freedom for two years, weakened, away from my family because the Attorney General (…) said I had gone to La Picota and other places to tell people what they had to say. That turned out to be a lie.” Arias thanked the justice system and said “people should be allowed to defend themselves while free because preventative arrest weakens the human being way too much.”