The scandal over the collection of advisers and assistants of the assembly members is growing every day. Two of the defendants defend themselves against the accusations.
The issue of bribes in the Assembly, in exchange for work, already has three complaints. This was announced yesterday by the prosecutor Paúl Pérez before the press.
The denounced legislators are: Tito Puanchir, from the province of Morona Santiago (Pachakutik and member of the National Integration Block, BIN); Sebastián Palacios, from the province of Pichincha (SUM); and Karina Arteaga, from the province of Manabí, (PAIS Alliance). The first was denounced by the president of the Assembly, Elizabeth Cabezas, from the Alianza PAIS movement. While the other two cases were presented by the victims of alleged extortion.
Puanchir explained that there was never any employment relationship or hiring as an advisor or assistant with Martha Campoverde. She reported that the legislator asked for $ 10,500 to hire her as a consultant. However, Puanchir admitted that he received a loan from her for $ 6,000.
Palacios clarified that he never received money from the complainant. “I am outraged that they want to take advantage of the situation in the Assembly to discredit me. They have sent me complaints against this man, which makes clear the type of person he is, “he said, referring to the person who accused him, although he omitted his name.
Andrea Utreras, former advisor to Assemblywoman Arteaga, went yesterday to the Prosecutor’s Office to file a complaint against her for alleged extortion. Her lawyer Roberto Calderón explained that it is a crime of concussion, whose sanction is between three and five years, according to the Comprehensive Criminal Code (COIP).
He also said that he will denounce Arteaga in the International Workers Organization and the Council for Transitional Citizen Participation. Utreras, who worked at Arteaga’s office from January to March 2018, said her former boss charged her four advisers on the pretext of paying his political movement.
“I have received 8 more cases like mine. They gave me the PAIS bank account number to make the deposits. The fee was not optional, they forced us, “she explained.
Another testimony that this parliamentary ex-adviser received is against Johanna Cedeño, from AP. In a chat from Cedeño, on August 24, 2016, she says: “Vane, they already paid their salary, I need them to catch up. They must pay 25% of what they owe until December. We all have economic needs and disadvantages but we still have to support, “the message reads.
Utreras noted that the “tax on labor” is not only done in the Assembly, but in other public institutions and through family networks. There are two complaints against Arteaga in Manabí: her brother, Ricardo Arteaga, is the zonal coordinator of the Secretariat of Politics; her sister-in-law, María Arteaga, is district director of Educación Chone; and her daughter Nadia Álava, is the zonal coordinator of the Technical Secretary of Drugs, Utreras warned.
“Those relatives of Arteaga demand money in exchange for work in those entities. I have a video in which they ask for bribes to workers who barely earn $ 300, “she said. There are more testimonies against assembly members for the collection of “tithes”.
Yesterday, an ex-adviser told this newspaper that an Amazon legislator, now independent, was charging $ 100 a month to each of its officials. He told another type of corruption in which the legislators incur: the exchange of personnel. That is to say, the sister, wife or daughter does not appear on the payroll of the assembly member, but on that of another colleague. “They hire office personnel cross-referenced. The same happens in the provinces, governorates and provincial directorates, “he said and asked not to reveal his name. (I)