Former Miss Colombia charged with scandal

April 27, 2011 at 12:50 PM

BOGOTA, April 27 (UPI) -- A former Miss Colombia has been called before Colombian anti-corruption prosecutors on allegations of illegally receiving government payments, officials said.

The Prosecutor General's Office announced Miss Colombia 2005, Valerie Dominguez, and 22 other prominent Colombians are under investigation for receiving money from the Agro Ingreso Seguro fund, El Espectador reported.

The subsidy program took place under then-Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias, and was intended to decrease rural inequality by granting payments to peasant farmers.

Dominguez, who owns a jewelry business, reportedly received $163,000 for an irrigation and drainage project.

The accused allegedly received a collective $1.7 million from the subsidy program without meeting proper legal qualifications.

Dominguez reportedly returned the money after news broke in 2009 and was expected to appear for questioning Wednesday.

Several former government officials, including former Colombian Agricultural Ministers Andres Felipe Arias and Andres Fernandez are being investigated for allegedly granting the subsidies.

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