The Government of Ecuador will ask the United Nations to support an investigation into the situation of social security and hydroelectric, as it did in oil projects and whose results are “shameful,” said the country’s president, Lenin Moreno.
In a message to the nation, the president said he has asked the United Nations to support an investigation into the situation in the Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS), because he suspects that there also “resources had been squandered”.
He also indicated that he has requested to do the same with hydroelectric plants and other projects considered “emblematic” during the administration of his predecessor, Rafael Correa, in whose mandate Moreno was vice president of the Republic and then special sent person to the United Nations.
Although he did not offer details, Moreno assured that the results of the investigation carried out by the UN mission to five oil projects developed during the Correa administration, contain “shameful and scandalous” conclusions.
Therefore, he said he has decided to file a complaint with the State Attorney to investigate the alleged irregularities committed in the execution of these projects, especially overpricing and alleged design flaws.
He said that in the case of the Esmeraldas State Refinery his rehabilitation in the Correa government cost 2,230 million dollars, although the initial budget was just 754 million and that, according to Moreno, “was useless”.
He also spoke of alleged overpricing in the Refinería del Pacífico project, in the Pascuales-Cuenca pipeline (in critical condition due to alleged engineering errors) and the “Bajo Alto” gas plant, as well as failures in the protection of piles in the Maritime Terminal Green Mount.
“For these five projects, $ 4.9 billion was paid,” when it had to cost half, so the Government has decided to file a complaint with the Office of the Prosecutor, with the aim that these cases do not remain unpunished, Moreno reiterated.
On the other hand, the president justified his decision to reduce subsidies or state aid to fuel, which has led to increases in the prices of gasoline and generated protests from various social sectors.
This measure and an operation to reduce public spending will save about 1.2 billion dollars annually, which will be used “exclusively to improve the future of Ecuadorians,” said the president, noting that the adjustment measure should not imply an increase in the price of transportation or other products.
He also asked the justice system for a greater commitment to attack corruption, especially the one that is investigated during the Correa period, and recalled that the Comptroller’s Office (State Accounts Court) has found indications of responsibility on 317 ex-employees.
For Moreno, 2019 will be a year “key to the future of the country” and to recover the economy with a “turn of the mill”, which some analysts believe is linked to business interests and eventual privatizations. (I)