The extinct Ministry of Aquaculture has open processes in the Office of the Prosecutor. The Comptroller did a 259-page exam.
The Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries had a short life, but created and inherited irregularities that continue to this day. The government of Lenin Moreno decreed, on May 24, 2017, its creation and 16 months later announced its merger with the Ministry of Agriculture. At that time, the entity based in Manabí generated actions that are now being investigated by the State Attorney General’s Office.
The most basic purchases of the ministry had anomalies that could not be justified and now are grounds for investigations for criminal offenses. In its short life, Aquaculture spent more than 25 million dollars (see table).
The Comptroller General of the State reviewed more than $ 170,000 of this budget and concluded that in the acquisition of ink and toners for the entire entity, for example, the contract was awarded to an unqualified provider. In addition, the amounts used were not justified and the transactions were not documented. A frequent informality in the examinations that the Comptroller made during the government of former President Rafael Correa. The difference is that these anomalies were detected after May 24, 2017, in the first year of Lenín Moreno’s administration.
The observation of the control entity did not end there. Since April 3 of last year there is a complaint filed with the Attorney General’s Office. This institution carries out a legal process that is in the “reserved stage of investigation”. There are diligences requested and pending.
The procedure in the Prosecutor’s Office is not the only inheritance of the defunct ministry. That state portfolio inherited a long list of illegal activities. The report DPM 0014-2019 of the General Comptroller of the State, approved on April 8 this year, reports an irresponsible handling of the Vice Ministry of Aquaculture and Fisheries from 2013 to May 23, 2017. This entity was the basis for the construction of the Ministry of Aquaculture.
What was inherited? The special examination determined that the vice-ministry acquired goods without justification and with surcharges. Also disappeared goods and even state vehicles without there being a record that justifies its location.
There is more. The vice-ministry could not justify spending and income of money in its coffers. Personnel without support or the necessary experience were also hired. Even an emergency was declared for purchases without control.
In total, according to the report that would also reach the Prosecutor’s Office, operations were examined for 38.7 million dollars.
Austerity is sought
The president of the Republic, Lenin Moreno, justified the elimination of the ministry, which he created, ensuring that the country’s economy demanded cuts in public spending. As Aquaculture, the Executive eliminated and merged other entities.
The guild was opposed
After the announcement of the elimination of the Ministry of Aquaculture, in August 2018, the National Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Ecuador (Fenacopec) expressed its rejection because, in its opinion, a vital sector for the economy is neglected. (I)