José Antonio Noritz: “The $ 41 million remain in Issfa and there will be no one who returns them”
Vice Admiral José Noritz, former director of the Issfa, and one of the eight people held responsible for the alleged excess payment of $ 41 million, affirms that the money paid by the Ministry of Environment to the Issfa between 2010 and 2011 for the sale of lands in the north of Guayaquil (where the Samanes park was built) is still part of the assets of the military social security.
Excerpt from the interview with José Noritz
Q: What responsibility does the Ministry of the Environment have in all this?
A: We were forced to sell those lands. We wanted to build a real estate project that in the long term would yield revenues of $ 300 million, but the government of Rafael Correa, through the Ministry, established the place as a national recreation area.
Q: And then what happened?
A: On August 19, 2010, Minister Marcela Aguiñaga sent an official letter to Minister of Defense Javier Ponce, to appoint an Issfa delegate to sign the sale contract based on the appraisal made by the Dinac (The National Directorate of Appraisals and Cadastres for its Spanish acronym).
Q: Are you sure that letter mentions the agency in charge of the appraisal, are you sure of that?
A: Of course! (He shows letter MAE-D-2010-0637). In that document, she threatens to expropriate us, something illegal. They delegated me to sign, although the person who chairs the Issfa board was Defense Minister Javier Ponce at then (2010).
Q: Ponce, the person who delegated you, is not he among those responsible, why?
A: Ah! Ponce must have good contacts. I do not understand how I´m the only one person from the Issfa who has been held responsible! But Defense Minister Javier Ponce, three generals of each branch of the armed forces, the head of the Joint Command and two troop delegates signed the contract. A delegate should no be held full responsibility. I was only the executor of a resolution taken by a Council, whose head was the Defense Minister.
Q: Until then, where will the money remain?
A: The money is in the Issfa and there will be no one to return it because that would mean a judicial mess. That money came from a sale of a property and is part of the institution´s assets. Only a judge can order the return of that money. Former President Correa said at a weekly address: “Give the money back! If they do not return it, the Ministry of Finance will debit it! But he only said it, he never did it, he is not a judge and even if he had ordered it, it couldn´t have been done anyway. Correa never signed anything to get the money back from the Issfa because if he did, he would be one of the defendants. (I)