Since2009, when the Code of Democracy began to be in force, a regulation has not been drafted to control the contributions of adherents to political organizations. Not being regulated, these contributions could fall within the crime of concussion, which occurs when public servants ask for “fees,contributions, rents, interest, salaries or bonuses not owed,” according to the COIP.
The denunciation of alleged undue charges that point to the Vice President of the Republic, María Alejandra Vicuña, is investigated by the Office of the Prosecutor for this possible crime.
Last Monday it was learned that Ángel Polivio Sagbay, had made a sworn statement in which he pointed to Vicuña for asking for money. Those orders would haveoccurred in the first Vicuña period in the Legislature. Yesterday, Sagbay issued three certificates of bank deposits for USD 150, 200 and 300 that would have been transferred to Vicuña.
The Vice President, however, spoke of a “blackmail orchestrated by Sagbay,Andrés Páez and the correístas”, with the intention of affecting their image and that of the Government. However, she did not deny the existence of the contributions. “We have made them, and I include myself, in compliance with our duties as militants, as stated in the statutes of all political organizations in fact and law, within the framework of what is established by the Code of Democracy, in the article 359 “.
The Law establishes that the patrimony of the parties and movements can be fed with contributions from militants. These revenues must be registered and published on its website, but the Alianza Bolivariana Alfarista (ABA) portal is disabled.Carlos Aguinaga, former president of the former Supreme Electoral Tribunal(TSE), said that article 359 left an open window, since there is no regulation to control private contributions. “There are many normative gaps regarding the issue of private contributions.
Therefore,there is a weakness in control. ” The expert believes that under the umbrella of the so-called “voluntary contributions system” dozens ofcases of alleged “tithes” are hidden
Vicuña assured that ABA is a co-founding organization of the official Alianza País movement, but did not give details of the contributions. Alianza País web portal does reflect the detail of the movement’s economic situation and voluntary contributions, between 2014 and 2017.
The final destination of the alleged charges could elucidate if indeed it was a private contribution for the Alliance Bolivariana Alfarista (ABA), in which Vicuña militates. Or on the contrary, if he had incurred the crime of concussion.
Ramiro García, president of the Pichincha Bar Association, explains that if it was a contribution intended for a political organization, it would not fall into this type of crime. The concussion, added Garcia, is imprescriptible and is punishable by custodial sentences of between three and five years. Formerex-Assemblyman of Creo and former vice-presidential candidate, Andrés Páez,formalized a complaint against Vicuña.
Páez asks that the bank movements of Vicuña be investigated, between June 1, 2011and May 31, 2013, since Sagbay denounced that in that period he delivered economic contributions to the official, in exchange for not losing his position as advisor. It also transpired that Diana Salazar, head of the Financial Analysis Unit (UAFE), delivered documentation to the Prosecutor’s Office. The official told this newspaper that she could not reveal the information.
Meanwhile,the Assembly is analyzing the possibility of creating a special commission to investigate the actions of Vicuña. The president of this function, Elizabeth Cabezas (AP), had planned to meet yesterday with the heads of the banks to assess this option. For Eliseo Azuero, of the National Integration Block, which groups minority parties, and Héctor Yépez, of Creo, the denunciations against Vicuña would constitute the crime of concussion that, according to article 129of the Constitution, is sanctioned with destitution.
Cabezas clarified that a political trial requires a prior opinion from the Constitutional Court, which is currently vacant. It is expected that for the second half of December it will be designated by the Council of Transitory Participation. To submit a request for political prosecution to the Presidentor Vice President, Article 87 of the Law of the Legislative Branch specifies that the signatures of at least one third of the legislators are required.Yesterday, Fabricio Villamar (Creo) initiated the procedure.
Afterwards,the document will be analyzed by the Administration Council of the Legislature(CAL). Then, the CAL will send the same to the Constitutional Court, in order to issue the prior opinion on admissibility. Only with this requirement can thecase be processed by the Supervisory Commission. It requires the favorable votes of at least two thirds of the Assembly for the dismissal of the VicePresident of the Republic. (I)