Bogota, March 15 (IANS) The Colombian Attorney General said that prosecutors have recovered recordings in which a murdered cattle rancher mentions President Ivan Duque and Senator Alvaro Uribes alleged involvement in a vote-buying scam.
Attorney General Francisco Barbosa said on Saturday that he did not know about the recordings of Jose ‘Nene’ Guillermo Hernandez, who was killed last May in Brazil, mentioning Duque and Uribe until they were given to him following a judicial inspection, reports Efe mews.
“Neither the director of the National Police nor the director of the Dijin (Criminal Investigation Directorate of the National Police) ever informed me that they had these audios,” Barbosa told the media here.
“It was the Prosecutor’s Office, which after conducting a judicial inspection of the Technical Chamber of Dijin Communications, managed to recover the recordings.”
He said the inspection was carried out from 8 p.m. on Thursday until 4 a.m. on Friday.
Barbosa added the audios had always been at the hands of the police and were never referred to the Attorney General’s office.
Duque and Uribe are at the centre of a political scandal after conversations were revealed about the rancher, thought to have been the key figure in the alleged purchase of votes during the election campaign that the President won.
The order allegedly came from Uribe.
The case called “Nenepolitica” came to light after part of the audios were transcribed by journalist Gonzalo Guillen and published in La Nueva Prensa news outlet.
Guillen said that prosecutors’ investigation over a young man’s murder revealed phone conversations which said Hernandez is “the axis of a vote-buying operation in (Colombia’s) north coast for (Duque) and (Uribe)”, over which the supreme court opened a preliminary investigation.
Prosecutors had been investigating Hernandez, who since 2015 was a suspect for the August 2011 murder in Barranquilla of Oscar Eduardo Rodríguez, son of moneylender Carlos Rodríguez, with whom the former had problems over a debt of 1 billion pesos (about $ 350,000).