It is one of the big cases that will have to be investigated by the new attorney general, Diana Salazar. The current Government and the Participation Council filed complaints in the Office of the Prosecutor.
The Comptroller’s Office also received a report. After 11 years and three months, and $ 1,531 million spent, the construction project of the Pacific Refinery is unfinished, paralyzed and without financing. On January 7, 2008, Petroecuador and Venezuelan oil company PDVSA signed the memorandum of understanding to create the mixed economy company Refinería del Pacífico RDP.
As witnesses of honor, the then presidents of Ecuador and Venezuela, Rafael Correa and Hugo Chávez subscribed. The objective was to build in the El Aromo community, in the province of Manabí, the petrochemical complex to process or refine 300,000 barrels of oil per day and produce gasoline, diesel, liquefied petroleum gas, jet fuel and petrochemical products for domestic consumption and export.
At that time, the National Government estimated that the cost of the complex would reach $ 14,100 million. According to the agreement, Petroecuador was assigned 51% of shares and PDVSA 49%. The objective was to find a third investor.
For the then Minister Coordinator of the Strategic Sectors, Jorge Glas, that third partner, builder and financier, would be the oil company CNPC and the ICBC bank of China. Time has elapsed without funding being obtained to date. What we have at the moment, of this ambitious project, is just an extensive flat land in El Aromo, early works and the La Esperanza aqueduct.
In addition, a questioned managerial management, strong indications of corruption and two formalized denunciations. Complaints did not prosper Despite irregularities were already detected, during the previous Government the complaints and investigations did not prosper.
Jorge Rodríguez, spokesman for the National Anticorruption Commission, recalled that in February 2016 they filed a complaint with the attorney general, Galo Chiriboga, for alleged irregularities in the acquisition of the Pacific Refinery land. In June of the same year, the National Court of Justice decided to file the complaint and Judge Marco Maldonado described it as “malicious and reckless”.
In April 2017, Judge Karen Matamoros found the nine members of the Commission guilty of the crime of “slander”. The aggrieved was the comptroller Carlos Pólit, who upon hearing the ruling “resigned the complaint”. In turn, the Office of the Comptroller General of the State, according to its website, records the completion of 14 audits of the Pacific Refinery, between January 2008 and December 2015.
These are tests carried out on small complementary works and one on the acquisition of the land, but does not make major objections or observations. According to an official of the Comptroller’s Office who asked not to reveal his name, this is understandable, because at that time the comptroller was the now fugitive Carlos Polit.
Given this situation, on January 4, the current Government, through the Minister of Energy, Carlos Pérez, went to the Office of the Prosecutor and then to the Comptroller’s Office to present a formal complaint. This is based on the technical and economic evaluation carried out by the company RPS Energy, a firm in the United Kingdom endorsed by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
He found surcharges and concluded that he did not meet the needs of Ecuador. According to the report, it was a mistake to build the early works without securing the financing. Perez asked the control agency to analyze all the information and take the actions it deems pertinent. One month later, on February 11, the president of the Council of Citizen Participation and Transitory Social Control, Julio César Trujillo, delivered a similar complaint contained in 2,099 pages to the Attorney General’s Office.
Marcela Estrella, technical secretary of Transparency of the Transitory Council, believes that in this case not a single crime has been committed, but a contest of crimes. For her, influence peddling, tax evasion, organized crime, money laundering and embezzlement have been detected.
Trujillo described the Pacific Refinery case as “the biggest heist to the economy of the country consummated in the government of Rafael Correa.” The denounced Along with the complaint, the CPCCST asked the Prosecutor’s Office to link the former president Rafael Correa in the investigation for the abuse of public resources and the encouragement to conduct business with the State. In the same way, former Vice President Jorge Glas, for the presumption that, in his capacity as coordinator of the strategic sectors, he would have known and would be involved in the misappropriation of public funds.
In addition, he asked to link Carlos Pólit, then the Comptroller General of the State, for not giving way and avoiding the mechanisms of subsequent control. In the same way, he requested to investigate the degree of participation of the ex-minister Wilson Pastor and Pabel Muñoz, former national secretary of Planning. Also to ex-managers of Petroecuador, Pacific Refinery, SK, Odebrecht, Caminosca, Worley Parsons, Verdú, among other companies. (I)