The national judge Ivan Saquicela received by lot the request of the prosecutor Ruth Palacios to charge 11 people for alleged embezzlement in the Singue case.
The prosecutor based her request on the elements collected in almost two years of prior investigation. One of them is the Comptroller’s report that established indications of criminal responsibility in the award of Singue to the DGC Consortium.
Among other things, the auditors determined that in the pre-contractual process there was a call for bids without certification of the map of oil blocks of the Military Geographical Institute (IGM).
The response of the minister coordinator of Strategic Sectors of the time and the Secretary of Hydrocarbons was that the IGM had already certified on January 28, 2008 the area of the Singue contract in which they confirmed the coordinates that delimit the area of the contract with the Amazon Oil Consortium. The report includes the position of the required authorities that there was no legal provision that required certification of the coordinates of the blocks before calling for an oil tender.
Another anomaly is the reception of the DCG offer, which indicates that it contained information from 2002 to 2006, despite the fact that the bidding rules requested exploration and exploitation investments for the years 2006 to 2010.
The document adds that there was no support for the operator’s operational capacity. The response of the audited authorities was that the veracity of the information regarding the investments of 2006 was shown, that Dygoil is in the hydrocarbon industry of Ecuador since 1986 and meets all the requirements that accredit it as operator of an exploration and exploitation contract of hydrocarbons.
In the request for the formulation of positions, the prosecutor included, among others, the former coordinator of Strategic Sectors and former Vice President Jorge Glas, the former Vice Minister of Hydrocarbons Carlos Pareja and the former Coordinator of the Ministry of Natural Resources María Lorena Espinoza. According to the report, they were part of the Hydrocarbons Tender Committee.
In March 2018, Comptroller Pablo Celi asked to include former President Rafael Correa in the case. It was protected in the certified copy of a 2011 official letter that was addressed to the former presidenr by the manager of Dygoil. The document was sent to the comptroller by the Presidency.
The communication refers to a tariff of 29.3 dollars per barrel. That would have meant that a lower price was possible and that Correa knew about the negotiations.
The Singue block is located in Sucumbíos, north of the Sansahuari field and south of the Víctor Hugo Ruales field. Its total area is 3,446 hectares. Its reserves were initially estimated at 4.2 million barrels of oil.
Silvana Pástor, vice president of Gente Oil, told EXPRESO that it has been demonstrated that the Comptroller’s report has no technical or legal support. He argued that it was a contract legitimately established in a tender and not in a special regime.
In an official letter addressed to former prosecutor Carlos Baca, Comptroller Pablo Celi said that Rafael Correa had knowledge of Singue’s negotiation process. He mentioned a letter from the manager of Dygoil sent to Correa on January 26, 2011. (I)