The health emergency that the country has been experiencing since last March 16 due to covid-19 has been used by public officials and businessmen to commit acts of corruption that have shocked the country.
There are around 60 public entities investigated, most of them hospitals . Authorities and well-known characters are involved.
Complaints about price premiums on the purchase of medicines , medical supplies , food kits and other goods, as well as irregular contracts, are the main anomalies investigated. (I)
In 2018 and then at the end of 2019, the National Anticorruption Commission (CNA) reported alleged irregularities at the Teodoro Maldonado Carbo hospital, especially in the procurement of medicines, medical supplies, and services.
This was ratified in March 2020 in contracts that would have been signed in connection with the health emergency, so on June 3 the hospital facilities and other dependencies were raided. Among them, the home of former President Abdalá Bucaram, who was detained for having a firearm without documents. But then prosecutor Diana Salazar clarified that 2,000 rapid tests for covid-19 and 5,000 masks were found in the Bucaram home. These supplies have the same characteristics as those that were sold at a premium to the Teodoro Maldonado hospital.
The damage to the State for this case is around $ 12 million, there are three detainees and the process is under prosecution. (I)
Los Ceibos Hospital
It is one of the first investigated since March, but it was on May 4 when the Prosecutor’s Office, with the support of the National Police, executed seven raids in the province of Guayas, with the aim of gathering evidence for the irregular purchase of corpse covers with possible surcharge. 16 people were arrested.
$ 594,000 was intended to be paid to the company Silverti SA for the 4,000 bags that had been purchased by hand, with a price of $ 148.50 each, when they were available at the market at $ 12.
But not only was Silverti being acquired , gloves and masks were also being purchased, so the contract was raised to $ 872,000.
Of the 16 detainees, 12 were released and the process is in the phase of fiscal investigation, for 90 days.
Apart from this, the allegations of alleged mishandling of bodies and even charges for the delivery of the bodies to the relatives are investigated. (I)
Secretariat of Risks
Due to complaints received the previous day, on May 8, personnel from the Prosecutor’s Office and the Police raided the facilities of the National Secretariat for Risk Management (SNGR), in Guayaquil, and 2 other properties to collect indications of a alleged price premium on the purchase of 7,000 food kits, worth $ 1,055,740, in the context of the health crisis.
For each kit containing 18 perishable and non-perishable products, such as rice, meat, oil, grains, panela, salt, milk powder, sardines, tuna, among others, a payment of $ 150.82 was agreed, when compared with the At market prices the cost would be $ 83.74.
At a hearing on charges, held on May 18, despite the substantiated request for preventive detention by the Prosecutor for the ex-SNGR head, Alexandra O., and 4 other officials, Judge Daniella Camacho imposed precautionary measures on them. In addition, the 90-day tax investigation phase began. (I)
In March of this year an inquiry started in reserve. The Prosecutor General’s Office was tracking an alleged corruption network that was articulated around the contract for the construction of the Pedernales hospital, in the province of Manabí.
Three months later, after 16 raids carried out in the provinces of Manabí and Pichincha , there are 15 people linked, of whom 12 are in preventive detention and three with precautionary measures.
In addition, the 90-day period runs for the Prosecutor’s Office to deepen the investigations, gather more evidence or evidence to support the accusation, which must be done at the preparatory hearing for the trial, when the term ends.
On the morning of Friday, June 5, Assemblyman Daniel M., the director of the Works Contracting Service (Secob), Edmundo T .; Jennifer C., Tania C., Ángel A. and Olga M.
The first five went to prison by order of Judge Marco Rodríguez. (I)
Municipality of Quito
The Quito Cabildo does not escape the acts of corruption registered during the health emergency by covid-19. In the past two weeks, four cases of irregularities have been made public and the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating.
The first case, in which there are no detainees, was known on May 27, when five raids were carried out for possible overpricing in the purchase of 100,000 PCR tests for covid-19.
The second case has Guido A., manager of the Metropolitan Company of Drinking Water (Epmaps) as the main implicated party, for an alleged price premium in the purchase of medical supplies, for $ 167,900. Guido A. and two other people are detained.
A third fact is the diversion of $ 1.3 million from the Epmaps account to China and the United States; and the fourth case that is investigated is for alleged collection of commissions of up to 20%, to be a provider of the temporary Bicentennial hospital. There are also no detainees. (I)
Between April 4 and May 25, the Guayas Prefecture entered into 18 contracts for $ 5.6 million, according to information from the National Public Procurement Service. Several of these contracts have been questioned. Two are part of the investigation for influence peddling that the Prosecutor’s Office is following, in the purchase of medical supplies with a surcharge. A third contract for 70,000 masks and 5,000 rapid tests has indications of criminal responsibility, after a report by the State Comptroller General. While, in another process, the supplier would be a paper company, whose manager is missing.
Last Wednesday, the Guayas prefect, Carlos Luis M. , And seven other people were detained for alleged influence peddling in the awards during the health emergency. They were released, but precautionary measures were imposed, including the use of a shackle, and the prosecution was initiated. (I)