Prosecutor’s Office investigates bribes in the regularization of taxis and permits for buses; millionaire movements of official accounts; acts and contracts that are incompatible with the law; people who occupied high positions in the Municipality without complying with the profile; a citizen who received salary for two years without ever attending work, among others.
At least seven alleged acts of corruption and irregularities investigates the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office of Pichincha within the Municipality of Quito. This, based on the more than 100 complaints filed by transporters from the capital who feel affected by the alleged collection of bribes and other facts.
The tax investigation began after the dismantling of a criminal network that demanded undue payments to taxis and buses. In these crimes are involved two councilors and at least six officials and former officials of the Cabildo Mobility Commission.
The supposed corruption in the granting of operating permits for the transport service, especially taxis, was not unknown in Quito. But the Prosecutor’s Office initiated investigations when the drivers, since last December filed complaints.
Even, affected approached the Citizen Observatory to denounce the bribes of those who were victims. Cristóbal Buendía, from the Citizen Observatory, told the Public Media that accusations of corruption cover several topics.
“What is being investigated are payments by the professionals of the steering wheel for the compensation of the public transport fare awarded by the Municipality, which was channeled through the Chamber of Transportation.” According to Buendía, money was given to officials so that the owners of the buses have the right to receive these compensations.
“The Chamber of Transportation requested the different companies $ 500 for each unit. That money went to municipal officials.” Bribes were also detected in the regularization of taxis: $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 was paid for each unit owner to operate. The Citizen Observatory also detected that there were acts and contracts that were at odds with the law on the trolleybus issue.
For example, the Metropolitan Transport Company signed a contract for the hygiene service with the company Siava in the amount of $ 1’221.335.37, not including VAT. However, other contracts were later concluded that increased the cost by 110%, which is prohibited and punishable by law. Buendía said that the investigations of the Office of the Prosecutor identified that officials of the Municipality handled sums in their accounts that ranged between $ 180,000 and $ 5 million, without being able to justify the origin of the money.
He added that almost 10,000 taxis are in the process of regularization, hence the sums that were handled by corruption were millions.
Another alleged anomaly is related to the profile that did not meet certain officials who held high-ranking positions in the municipality, appointed by the mayor, Mauricio Rodas. That would be the case of a psychologist who managed a company and whose academic training is under investigation.
Also the case of a citizen who for two years received his salary without working. The deputy prosecutor of Pichincha, Fabián Salazar, explained that the case of corruption within the Cabildo is in the preliminary investigation stage. “The formulation of charges before the Provincial Court of Justice has been presented, since there are two persons with provincial jurisdiction (the councilors).”
The network, the crimes and the voices
So far there are eight involved, of them, four are fugitives. Salazar said that 20 would be involved in the network, but cannot give names so as not to impede the investigations.
He said that there is a criminal structure that is subsumed into a typical behavior that is that of illicit association. However there would be other crimes such as unjustified private enrichment, influence peddling, concussion and possible money laundering.
The prosecutor said that this is how high-ranking people will be reached until the last consequences, because the investigation seeks to punish the crime committed. “There are victims and they are the drivers. Charges and bribes were made at all levels of the professional drivers of Pichincha who drive taxis, urban buses, school transport and dump trucks. The procedures are free, but they charged a price outside the law.”
Wladimir Jara, leader of the transport companies of Pichincha, regretted the cases of corruption reported to the interior of the Municipality and that have to do with operating permits for the units. He indicated that there is no technical study on the reality of transport in the capital.
The only thing that is known is that until 1995 there were 215 taxi cooperatives that grouped 8,778 vehicles. “The international standard requires that there are 3,000 taxis for every million inhabitants that means that in Quito there should be a maximum of 10,000 taxis.”
However, the reality is different. According to Jara, there are currently 5,106 new and 10,000 more units in the process of regularization. That is to say, 25,000 taxis circulate in Quito. He added that this was achieved because companies were created and registered in cantons close to the capital, but in reality they work in Quito.
He also blamed the campaign offers for the current chaos. For their part, the councilors agree in requesting that Rodas explain the facts involving senior officials appointed by him.
Mario Guayasamin said that Rodas “has shown a lack of leadership”, so “should go home”, so that in this year that is missing to elect a new mayor “a kind of sanitation is given, so that the new administration does not have It takes a year to solve the problems that Quito has today. ”
For Luis Reina, the Mayor only says that he does not know the problems, especially when they are serious, as happened with the garbage collection, the Quito Cables and the El Troje crisis, which left the capital without water for almost three days. “He, as the political leader of this crisis, has to go home.”
For the councilor Susana Castañeda, what happens is the result of misgovernment in Quito. Believes that Rhodes must resign to recover the institutionality.
“Ares” uncovered the case
On April 18, Quito and the country learned about the arrest of councilmen Eddy S. and Sergio G. and at least six officials, former officials and others. They were implicated in alleged acts of corruption in the Mobility Commission.
The president of the Court of Justice of Pichincha, María Paulina Aguirre, after the respective hearing and on the basis of the first investigations of the Prosecutor’s Office, on April 19 ordered the detention for investigative purposes.
They were implicated in the alleged crime of conspiracy, possible money laundering and other acts of corruption. Those involved also include Fausto M. and Andrea F., manager and secretary of Mobility, respectively. In total, through the operation “Ares”, 14 raids on buildings were carried out to collect evidence of this criminal network.
Prosecutor Salazar said the operation aimed to dismantle a network that moved $ 80 million in bribes to carriers. (I)