One month and 10 days took the Chinese company Xinlong S.A., obtain the permits for the use of land from the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) and build the plant in the parish of Roberto Astudillo, canton Milagro (Guayas).
However, this document would have been obtained after the work was completed, as reported by the Parochial Board, on December 3, 2018. According to the judicial complaint, the company allegedly committed the crime of illicit association when it obtained in record time the document to change from agricultural to industrial land.
That permit was then used to carry out the procedure in the Municipality of Milagro to obtain the authorization to build the steel plant. The parochial GAD denounced that the infraction would have been committed on September 29, 2017 when it began the construction of the plant that leaves between banana and cocoa plantations.
The steel mill is 400 meters from the road that connects Milagro-Naranjito. Paúl Desamblanc, legal representative of the Board, said that they filed the complaint for the “speed with which permits were processed to change land use.” The Prosecutor opened two inquiries for the crimes of money laundering and illicit association in this case, which was known on Tuesday, after complaints by the National Customs Service (Senae), Ministry of Labor, SRI and Undersecretary of Political Action of the Presidency of the Republic.
According to Desamblanc, the steel mill requested three times the change of land use. The offices issued by the MAG are from July 5, 2018; on July 24, 2018 and August 14, 2018. The first two applications were denied by the MAG and in the third, “the change of classification of use of rural land to urban expansion or industrial zone is granted”.
According to Agriculture, the change was granted because “the properties owned by the company Xinlong S.A, no longer have agricultural aptitude for the development of agricultural activities”. The report is signed by José Antonio Carrera, undersecretary of MAG. The lawyer of the Board said that the Ministry granted the permits “because the company continued with the construction and the ground was declared irreparable.”
Two months later, on October 17, 2018, the Municipality of Milagro granted the construction permit. But the company was already built. The building area is 18 635 m2, according to the permit.
In a statement, the Cabildo informed that it ordered the work to be stopped and fined the company USD80,000. The company then fulfilled the requirements of the permit from the MAG and the Prefecture of Guayas and the Cantonal Council approved the change in land use.
The company said that it had complied with the procedures to carry out the work and delivered the documents of the payment of fees to the Municipality. Desamblanc indicated that in 2017 the inhabitants of the sector refused to build. For its part, the Ministry of Agriculture, in a statement confirms acceptance of the change in land use based on a technical report prepared on July 31, 2018.
In the letter states that “with urgency and seriousness of the case, they will make an official pronouncement on the legality of the authorization and the respective denunciations to the competent organs “. (I)