Three years after the prosecution directed by Galo Chiriboga filed the complaint for alleged overpricing in the Manduriacu hydroelectric project, made by the National Anticorruption Commission, the case is reopened with the impulse issued by Attorney General Maribel Barreno, who replaced for a few days to Ruth Palacios.
The new stage of preliminary investigation was opened with the requests for the Presidency of the Republic to certify the appointment of Jorge Glas as coordinating minister of the Strategic Sectors; that the National Court of Justice certify where is the audio of the anticipated testimony that José Santos, of Odebrecht, gave in the trial for unlawful association; and that the documentation submitted by Glas be delivered to obtain financing from Brazil for the project.
For María Arboleda, part of the Anticorruption Commission (CAN for its acronym in Spanish) that denounced the case in 2015, the file is “unprecedented” for so long, that in just three months and without diligence the then prosecutor Chiriboga requested the file.
Manduriacu was the first complaint presented by the CNA after being formed. He did it for embezzlement, bribery, malfeasance and asked to investigate a surcharge of 83%. From $ 124 million that would have been the original cost ended up being worth more than $ 227 million.
Arboleda says that by 2015, mechanisms used to deliver bribes to award contracts were already being seen. The investigation was aimed at all senior officials of entities, but clarifies that there is a pyramid of actors in the chain of irregular processes: in the Comptroller’s Office, in the Office of the Prosecutor, in ministries…
For example, to the file of the case, Arboleda adds that the Office of the Comptroller headed by Carlos Pólit issued reports on the hydroelectric plant, finding irregularities, but never establishing responsibilities.
For 2017, Manduriacu was one of the five emblematic projects of the Rafael Correa government in which the Prosecutor’s Office determined that Odebrecht provided resources in the form of bribes to public officials and individuals.
Illicit association was the crime investigated and for which six years were condemned to former Vice President Jorge Glas. He was linked to the Odebrecht network, because according to the then prosecutor Carlos Baca, Glas “exercised direct influence in the scope of his duties facilitating the consummation” of that crime.
Manduriacu was also mentioned in the trial for concussion in which he was sentenced to six years former Comptroller Carlos Pólit. The Prosecutor General’s Office said that it asked Odebrecht for $ 6 million for the fading of glosses and $ 4.1 million for delivering favorable reports to five strategic projects, including Manduriacu.
José Santos spoke about bribes he gave for the Manduriacu project
On September 27, 2017, José Santos, now the former director of Odebrecht, reported in four hours of advance testimony, within the case of an illegal association in which Jorge Glas was sentenced, the mechanisms for the delivery of bribes for more than $ 50 million in exchange for contracts.
Among the five cases that he named was the one described as “the Manduriacu project annex”. And he said that in 2011 he was approached by businessman Ricky D., who remains a fugitive in the case for illicit association, to mention that he had an acquaintance who wanted the Brazilian construction company to take over the Manduriacu project.
To obtain the hydroelectric construction contract, Santos said, Odebrecht had to pay Ricky D. and his people $ 6.4 million. Of that, the construction company only gave $ 3.8 million, between 2012 and 2014.
This payment guaranteed Odebrecht the anticipated delivery of the bidding rules for them to modify. According to Santos’ testimony, the original tender talked about an international process.
“We changed from an international tender to one for Brazilian companies (…) that were operating and did not have problems in Ecuador.” “… We emerged victorious and it is worth noting that to make the financing of this project viable, several offices were sent by Jorge Glas, who was the coordinating minister of the Strategic Sectors, to the Ministry of Industries and Commerce of Brazil, in order to make the Odebrecht financing, “Santos said. (I)