BOGOTA (Reuters) – A committee in Colombia’s lower house of Congress will investigate allegations by an ex-senator who fled the country that President Ivan Duque participated in vote-buying and sought to have her assassinated, the head of the panel said on Monday.

Former Conservative Senator Aida Merlano was captured by Venezuelan police last month after she escaped custody in Bogota last year by climbing out of her dentist’s office while on a medical leave from prison and fleeing on the back of a motorcycle.

At a recent court appearance in Caracas, Merlano, who was convicted of vote-buying, accused Duque of wanting to kill her to protect the country’s political class. In a recent interview, she also alleged he benefited from vote-buying.

Duque’s government has said the accusations are a fabrication and that Merlano is being used by Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to put on a “media show.”

The investigation comes after leftist Representative David Racero requested an inquiry into Merlano’s accusations.

“In my capacity as the president of the investigations committee, after reading the complaint by Representative David Racero against the president of the republic, we have taken the decision to open an investigation,” John Jairo Cardenas, of the centrist Partido de la Unidad, told local radio.

Colombia does not recognize Maduro’s government and has requested Merlano’s extradition through Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido, whom it considers to be Venezuela’s legitimate head of state.

It is not clear how Guaido will handle the request given that Maduro retains control of most government functions including the police and judiciary.

The Colombian house committee regularly investigates Colombian presidents. Ernesto Samper, who governed from 1994 to 1998, was the subject of inquiries surrounding accusations he financed his campaign with drug trafficking money. He was exonerated.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.