The approval of the Organic Law of Fight against Corruption, presented in July of 2017 by the legislator of the Morenist wing Mariano Zambrano, has raised the suspicions of the private accuser in the Odebrecht case, César Montúfar.
In his opinion, as the text is drafted, the rule will favor former Vice President Jorge Glas and will allow him to leave prison without completing the six-year sentence imposed on him for illicit association. The proposal which in the process incorporated another 16 reform projects submitted between September 2017 and May 31, 2018 was approved with 107 votes in favor and only one abstention on August 14.
In a communiqué, Montúfar explains that the new norm replaces the crime of illicit association. In the Comprehensive Penal Code, that crime is configured “with the sole fact of the association”, recalls the document; while with the approved law it will be required “of the commission of crimes whose materiality is manifested through acts evidencing the pretension of their execution and that do not constitute attempt”. This modification would apply to Jorge Glas, if a review appeal is submitted, because the criminal laws that favor the accused can be applied retroactively.
The norm was processed through the Justice Commission, which is chaired by the Assemblywoman of the correísta side, Marcela Aguiñaga. The legislator defended the legislative process and refuted Montúfar’s argument about the illicit association. “It is illogical that a text presented two years ago -proposed by the former public defender, Ernesto Pazmiño- has been delivered with the intention of favoring a person sentenced in 2018 (Glas was sentenced to six years in December 2017).”
Zambrano agreed with that thesis. In a statement said that the interpretation of Montúfar is wrong: “The figure of illicit association does not seek impunity, nor change penalties as maliciously has been said; On the contrary, it requires its classification, “he explained.
The Odebrecht prosecutor, on the other hand, suspects the times and the changes. According to his complaint, aimed at President Lenin Moreno veto the amendments that affect the illicit association, that change was introduced in the report to the second debate, when they had passed seven months of the sentence to the former vice president of Rafael Correa. One month later, the standard was approved by the Plenary.
What is still true is that the rules aimed at combating corruption are built at a slow pace. The Justice Commission just started the process of the Law of Extinction of Domain (which seeks the confiscation of property whose origin is presumed illegal); while the Law for the recovery of capital, presented by the president of the Assembly, Elizabeth Cabezas, was sent to the Participation Commission.
The Executive itself has a pending debt: on August 21 it was announced the sending of two reforms (denunciation for the first time and to ‘reward’ who contributes to find the money of corruption) to the Assembly. Then, it was said that it was an urgent matter. They have not been presented yet. (I)