A CNE team traveled to Esmeraldas to verify complaints about the presence of illicit funds in the campaigns of local candidates. The rumor that candidates would be receiving money from drug trafficking to finance political campaigns, moved a brigade of the National Electoral Council (CNE), which was several days in the cantons of Esmeraldas, near the border with Colombia.
Counselor Luis Verdesoto said they found indications of the penetration of money from the mafias, possibly Colombians, who are seeing political organizations as a source to camouflage their illicit money. How are they operating? one of the modalities that was verified, is the organization of raffles, in favor of local leaders, with prizes such as appliances or cars, “which is not justified with the low price of the ticket,” said Verdesoto.
The counselor commented that this is a practice to launder money and that it would be applied in Ecuadorian territory. Other corroborated tracks are that there would be public works financed with private resources, such as the construction of roads or highways.
This draws attention because it is a practice of the mafias to win popular sympathy, in favor of a local authority or a character, who could become an authority through the electoral process and thus legitimize the work performed.
The counselor said that they prepared a report that will be put to the consideration of the full body between Monday, January 28 and Tuesday, January 29. For this reason he did not want to give details of everything they found, because he said, these findings will have to be verified by the entities corresponding as the Office of the Prosecutor.
The counselor said that one of the objectives of the report is to denounce these illicit processes that would be starting, to eradicate them and integrate the population so that they can also denounce. However, he indicated that he will undertake a reform to prevent or detect these practices in time, taking into account that the CNE guarantees the delivery of funds to all political parties.
In addition to the permanent support fund, another additional budget is assigned to the political organizations, qualified as national, according to the vote obtained. The electoral body distributes the budget equally, and is responsible for the dissemination of the electoral campaign, which according to the law, is a calculation that depends on the number of voters in each constituency.
But there is no legal system that allows the authorities to verify the income received by the parties, by contribution of the militants and private segments. At this point it is necessary to differentiate between the types of legal financing received by political organizations, to understand the type of control that must be executed and which state agency is competent.
The legislation provides for the permanent support fund, with specific purposes and that is given only to political organizations with scope of national action. This fund comes from the State budget and the fines collected by the CNE and that by law is intended for training and publications of the parties, as established in article 355 of the Code of Democracy.
The electoral campaign, as a mechanism to control the origin of funds, created the figure of the Electoral Promotion Fund, “this is where the so-called illicit contribution can arise,” said Esteban Ron Castro, Master in Democracy and Government. That is why the CNE must necessarily carry out an examination of the campaign accounts through a specialized address.
For this, each of the contributions that are made, should have a specific record in the political organization and in the same way the clause of oath of the legality of the funds, as part of the release of responsibility. The expert said that the CNE should also create a training culture with mandatory periodic updates to all political organizations.
In this way the electoral body will transparent the management of public and private resources, in the reports they make after each campaign. On the technical side, the CNE staff, in the same way, must be trained and specialized in this matter, “so that the examinations that are carried out meet parameters of demand and transparency, however at present the organism lacks technicians for this control, “Ron said.
The analyst said that the CNE is a multidisciplinary organization that needs technology and a modern legal framework with schemes that facilitate public scrutiny regarding the legality of the funds they handle. The information provided must be in real time, for example in terms of monitoring the pre-campaign and campaign.
Also, Ron believes that the reports of the promotion fund should maintain indicators of availability and number of guidelines and obviously a system of alerts regarding an audit of the spending limits with daily updates. Diego Zambrano Álvarez, professor of Political Law said that the CNE is the institution that should guarantee the legal origin of the private contributions received and the fate given to these resources; without prejudice to the intervention of the Comptroller. “It corresponds to the CNE to supervise, control, sanction and denounce the existence of illicit contributions and irresponsible or fraudulent management of public and private funds,” he said. (I)