Colombia's Congress opened a formal investigation this week into allegations that former president Alvaro Uribe bribed members in 2004 to back a constitutional amendment allowing him to run for a second term in 2006.
Representative Yidis Medina, who was found guilty of accepting inducements to vote for a second presidential term, pointed the finger at Uribe (below) during her trial.
She confirmed to congressional investigator Yahir Acuna that Uribe had offered political jobs to her supporters in return for backing draft legislation.
The former president is expected to put his side of the story forward to the House of Representatives accusations committee on November 21, following which a decision on whether to press a criminal indictment will be taken.
The bribery allegation is separate from long-standing accusations against Uribe of involvement with right-wing death squads, especially the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC).
Former AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso, who was extradited along with other death squad personnel to the US in 2008, still awaits trial for drug-trafficking, money laundering and financing terrorism.
He regards his extradition under Uribe as a personal betrayal since he had co-operated with investigations into the AUC, presided over its demobilisation and expected the president to refuse Washington's request to hand him over.
However, in a surprise and unheralded move, Mancuso and 13 associates were flown to Washington, since when he has not ceased to blow the whistle on his former partner.
Questioned in a Virginia prison on Monday, Mancuso confirmed taking part in a meeting at the Uribe family estate some years earlier when the president-to-be was governor of Antioquia.
Mancuso claimed that this meeting culminated in the appointment of Raul Suarez as police commander.
He also reiterated that he had contributed financially to Uribe's presidential re-election campaign in 2006. Uribe has threatened previously to sue Mancuso over such statements.
Accusations of Uribe involvement with the AUC death squads are not new.
Jailed murderer Pablo Hernan Sierra provided video testimony last year to Congress, declaring that his AUC unit had operated from the Guacharacas ranch owned by the Uribe family.
The former president's head of security General Mauricio Santoyo Velasco is also currently in the US facing trial after being extradited on charges of taking bribes to thwart anti-drug-trafficking efforts in the US and Colombia.
Uribe was denied a third shot at the presidency when the Supreme Court voted 7-2 in February 2010 not to ratify a congressional proposal on the grounds of "a number of irregularities in the passage of the referendum law that amount to a grave violation of democratic principles such as transparency and the rights of voters."
At the time, his defence minister Juan Manuel Santos accepted Uribe's mantle, declaring that "we cannot afford to change course" because "the future of Colombia and the continuity of Uribe's policies are at stake."
However, the two men have since fallen out over Santos's decision to pursue peace talks with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc).
Uribe opened hostilities in August, accusing President Santos of holding secret negotiations with Farc, which have since been confirmed. Substantive talks are now scheduled in Cuba's capital on November 15, where "rural development" will be the topic for discussion.
Uribe supporters in the president's U Party have continually sniped at the peace process, echoing their leader's criticism that Santos is more interested in dialogue with "terrorism" than national security.
Santos has taken his time to fire back, but he accused Uribe last weekend of having pursued the same goal of talks, identifying potential negotiating venues and asking Brazil to be an intermediary.
The current president has reaped public approval to the tune of 58 per cent in the wake of announcing the start of negotiations, but, paradoxically, while 72 per cent of opinion poll respondents back the talks, just 39 per cent expect them to bear fruit.
This could be due partly to bitter experience. The present negotiating process is the fourth in recent decades.
Earlier efforts failed as a result of a campaign of assassinations directed against the Patriotic Unity candidates supported by Farc and because of government refusal to consider any change of economic direction.
This could present an insuperable problem in the present round after government top negotiator Humberto de la Calle, flanked by Luis Carlos Villegas, the head of Colombia's largest business association, told an Oslo press conference last month that Colombia's neoliberal model was non-negotiable.
How this will play with Farc representatives of a rural population driven from their land by ranchers and overseas transnational companies set on exploiting Colombia's oil, coal and gold reserves is not hard to imagine.
Something will have to give or the Havana talks will grind to an unrewarding halt.
There has already been one major disagreement - government refusal to accede to the Farc proposal of an immediate ceasefire, so, after a short lull in Farc hostilities, its units are again in regular action against government forces.
It may be necessary for Colombian civil society to intervene, as the Patriotic March social movement has already done, to demand wider involvement in the negotiations to discuss not simply an end to war but a new beginning for Colombia.
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