Prohibition of leaving the country and periodic presentation every eight days before the subrogated president of the Provincial Court of Justice of Guayas is what ordered this Wednesday the national judge Ivan Saquicela against the former vice-president of the Republic María Alejandra Vicuña, within the instruction that will last 90 days for the crime of concussion.
For the decision of Judge Saquicela weighed the delivery of a document by the defense of Vicuña that spoke of her still presidential security, for having been vice president.
The decision also includes the prohibition to alienate a department that Vicuña maintains in Quito. The Office of the Prosecutor initially requested that the sale of all the assets of the defendant be prohibited and that its accounts be immobilized for a value of $ 23,300.
Judge Saquicela, of the National Court of Justice, ordered that the surrogate president of the Court of Guayas inform him weekly of the presentation that the former vice president makes every Monday between 08:00 and 10:00. He also warned the defense of Vicuña, Ana María Ontaneda, that if her client does not comply with the precautionary measure, it will be modified by an order of preventive detention immediately.
For the issue of the exit ban, Saquicela ordered that the immigration authorities be called to comply with the measure.
Although initially the Attorney General in charge Ruth Palacios asked the judge Saquicela preventive prison for former vice-president Vicuña, who is investigated for concussion, a document delivered in audience by the defense of the defendant, which revealed that she still has agents of Presidential Protection Service, the request of the Office of the Prosecutor changed to being ordered to leave the country and submit it periodically.
All this happened this Wednesday on the eighth floor of the National Court of Justice where for almost three hours the hearing to formulate charges against Vicuña was held.
The defense of the ex-vicepresident challenged the intervention of the Attorney General’s Office; However, Judge Ivan Saquicela accepted the arguments presented by the National Director of Sponsorship, as a delegate of the Attorney General. Within the arguments it was pointed out that the Ecuadorian State can appear at the hearing as a victim of the infraction, in accordance with article 441, numeral 6 of the COIP and a fortiori, because it is a crime that affects the efficiency of the administration public.
Shortly before 13:00, after listening to the parties, the diligence was suspended by judge Saquicela, because he had to analyze the requests of the Prosecutor’s Office based on 21 elements of conviction and the documents presented by the defense of Vicuña.
Palacios presented among the elements of conviction to charge the affidavit and the version rendered by Ángel Sagbay, former administrative assistant and adviser 1 of Vicuña when he was a legislator, in which he claimed that Sagbay was forced to pay from his monthly salary to maintain his position in the Assembly, between 2011 and 2013. In addition, the Office of the Prosecutor presented reports from the Financial and Ecomomic Analysis Unit (UAFE) that would indicate unusual operations in Vicuña’s income: she would have received as income for more than $ 500,000 and her accounts were entered more than $ 1.1 million.
On December 12, Palacios requested the National Court of Justice to set a date and time to hold a hearing to formulate charges for the crime of concussion against former vice-president Vicuña.
The request follows from the previous investigation initiated by the institution with respect to allegations that several ex-officers of the legislature who worked when Vicuña was an assemblyman handed him money from his salary to supposedly stay in office. One of them was Sagbay, who has already rendered a version of the notarized declaration in which he confirms that he was forced to deliver monthly monies of his salary in exchange for his job stability in the Assembly.
Vicuña in response explained at the time that those monies he received in his bank account were not collections of any kind, but voluntary contributions as a militant and went to the political organization Alianza Bolivariana Alfarista (ABA).
Andrés Páez filed a complaint against the then Vice President Vicuña on November 27 for the crimes of concussion and influence peddling. That complaint and its subsequent version were also part of the elements of conviction presented by the Office of the Prosecutor.
María Alejandra Vicuña resigned as Vice President of the Republic on December 4, one day after the President of the Republic, Lenin Moreno, freed her from her duties and she asked for a leave without pay until December 31.
The Office of the Prosecutor also requested the prohibition of disposing of assets and the immobilization of Vicuña accounts in the amount of $ 23,300. These requests were also met by the defense of the former vice-president, who asked that the measure not reach her client’s accounts because she has to support her minor daughter and that instead, to guarantee the required money, she take one of the two personal assets that you have, which exceed the more than $ 23,000 requested by the Office of the Prosecutor.
Ana María Ontaneda, abogada de la exvicepresidenta María Alejandra Vicuña, llega a la CNJ para la audiencia de formulación de cargos por el delito de concusión contra la exsegunda mandataria ecuatoriana. @eluniversocom pic.twitter.com/SEQiBdUmXz— Santiago Molina (@santiagomolinao) 23 de enero de 2019
The defense of Vicuña, Ana María Ontaneda, described as disproportionate the request for preventive detention made by prosecutor Palacios. She explained that the measure did not make sense not only because her client has collaborated since the beginning of the investigation with the authorities, but also because she did not find a flight risk when Vicuña maintains Presidential Security agents giving her protection as a former vice president 24 hours a day. To justify this last fact, she presented an official document of the receipt that she currently holds.
Beyond these elements presented and the family and labor ties that he gave, Ontaneda assured that there is no evidence to prove that the monies delivered were mandatory and were not voluntary contributions.
Prosecutor Palacios assured that until now Vicuña has not justified what she did with the money of the contributions she said were voluntary and that they were destined for the ABA movement. (I)