In a joint statement, the head of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Supreme Court of Colombia announced the beginning of an investigation into the allegations of Senator Aida Merlano, who escaped from detention and was detained in Venezuela, about buying votes in the election of the current president of the country, reported the publication Tiempo.
Senator Aida Merlano, who was sentenced in Colombia to 15 years in prison for buying votes in the elections and possession of weapons and then escaped and was detained in Venezuela, said that she was kidnapped at the behest of her government and subjected to violence and death threats. Merlano also reported that she had witnessed the transfer of large sums of money during the presidential campaign of Alvaro Uribe (2002-2010) and accused the incumbent President, Ivan Duque, of buying votes in the second round.
“The Prosecutor’s Office and the Supreme Court have an interest in investigating electoral corruption and the escape of former Congressman Merlano”, – said the Attorney General of Colombia, Francisco Barbosa.
Barbosa separately noted that “it has no constitutional or legal competence to investigate the president or congressmen of the republic”.
According to the Prosecutor General, the interrogations of the fugitive senator will be organized by videoconference, as the travel of staff to Venezuela is impossible due to the lack of diplomatic relations between the countries.
Chairman of the Supervisory Chamber of the Supreme Court Hector Arancon said that the court extended the preliminary investigation against Senator Arturo Char, whom Merlano called one of the organizers of her escape.
Earlier, the accusation commission of the House of Representatives of the Colombian Parliament announced the beginning of the investigation into the actions of President Ivan Dooké related to the testimony of Senator Merlano.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro linked the possible extradition of Merlano to the reluctance of President Duque to restore consular relations and stated that the Colombian president personally contributed to her escape.