The preliminary report of an audit conducted by the State GeneralComptroller to the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant establishes a chainof irregularities -from the appearance of cracks in the infrastructure untilthe suspension of the eight turbines- that caused a millionaire damage to theState.
The reading of the draft was made yesterday, in the auditorium of the control body, before lawyers, executives and employees linked to the analysis, who were already notified at the time of the partial results. Now they have five working days to present or complete their disclaimers.
Coca Codo Sinclair was built – at the initiative of the Rafael Correa government – by the Chinese company Sinohydro at a cost of $ 2,245 million. It came into operation in 2016.
The report revealed negligence in the construction: thousands of cracks were detected from the beginning; they were corrected and, nevertheless, they reappeared. Then a plan was established to detect them, but it failed.
Sinohydro could not remedy the structural failures and the Comptroller identified 171 defects, which caused a loss of $ 465,380.18 to Coca Codo Sinclair and $ 27,779,406.57 to the Ecuadorian State for income that should be received for the commercialization of energy.
According to the audit, the Celec invested $ 1,010’844,719.62 in the construction of the so-called “machine cavern”, which – despite its cost – did not have the maintenance they required: in its first two years of operation they were hardly intervened twice by the contractor, not complying with the required nor expected standards.
In the construction of the distributors of the eight turbines, the construction company would have used “non-approved materials” and parameters below international quality control standards.
The Comptroller’s special examination was applied to the period between December 16, 2015 and April 30, 2018, to several topics: the execution, termination, settlement and receipt of the construction and inspection contracts; to the operation and maintenance (includes environmental aspects), to the manufacture, assembly, reception and repair of the electromechanical components installed in the machine house and to the Resolution of Controversies before the Combined Board of Disputes.
Also to the costs incurred by the Coca Codo Sinclair Business Unit of the Electric Corporation of Ecuador (Celec EP) between September 10, 2012 and April 30, 2018.
The reading of the draft lasted more than six hours and was carried out by five auditors who took turns reading the voluminous document.
Once the final report is drafted, the Comptroller General of the State must establish, if applicable, administrative, civil or criminal responsibilities.
The Second Combined Board of Disputes favored Sinohydro with an extension of 167 days for the delivery of phase 1, without having been imposed a fine equivalent to $ 78.2 million, according to the auditors.
On November 18, 2016, the then President Rafael Correa inauguratedCoca Codo Sinclair, a hydroelectric plant built and financed by China. (I)