Posted On 01 Aug 2017
Excerpt of the interview with Miguel Aleman, president of Cardno-Caminosca in Ecuador and attorney for the consortiums responsible for overseeing the Minas San Francisco, Sopladora and Toachi Pilatón projects.
Q: Was this emergency measure sufficient?
A: Cardno sent an American internal auditor, Robert Anderson, to see what was happening, to ensure that the resources provided are used correctly, and to find answers on why the State was not fulfilling its obligations. They were about USD 20 million in accounts receivable and the former shareholders remained as managers, even the financial area was in their charge.
Q: Until then, they faced a problem of cash flow, not of corruption …
A: That’s right, in early December 2014, the auditor identified an invoice in the name of a firm that did not specify what service was charged. Unjustified payments were found in consortia. Cardno was notified in the US _ And Australia and decided to start an investigation, lawyers and computer analysts arrived in late January, they confiscated the computers and prevented former shareholders from entering their offices. During January, February and March 2015 they carried out analysis.
Q: How did the former shareholders respond?
A: In early March 2015 they resigned and Cardno made a publication in Australia about the company’s situation and the unjustified payments. At the end of that month, Cardno proposed me to take charge of the legal representation of Caminosca and the three consortiums. I took over from April 2015.
Q: What was your evaluation?
A: Payroll of 850 people, no incomes, demands from unpaid suppliers, arrears with the IRS and the social security. At that time, Cardno invested nine million and did not see the clear picture, it was a money sink. (I)