The accounts of the Ecuadorian Social Security Institute (IESS) need an urgent review. The decisions of the previous government complicate the financial records of the entity and the Comptroller General of the State is aware. The obtaining of loans, promoted by the former president of the board, Richard Espinosa, is being targeted.
The IESS contracted loans for 64.9 million dollars to build the Los Ceibos hospital in Guayaquil. This, as EXPRESO published on November 3, despite the fact that it had its own resources to finance the work. That is, in the eyes of the Comptroller General, insurance should not incur credit applications because I had the money.
Espinosa, however, managed loans for buildings and equipment for more than 150 million dollars.
It was not only the contracting of debt, the control body also questions that about 8 million dollars have been paid for consultancies that determine whether the loan can be managed or not. The insurance, then, paid to verify if the funds were required, although the Comptroller now says that they were not needed.
Despite the audit studies, Espinosa defends the operations carried out with the Deutsche Bank and other entities. As detailed, in response to this newspaper, “the resources that came were placed in products that the IESS Bank provides generating a profit”. The former official claims that the bank earned 7.4 million dollars for using borrowed money to provide loans to affiliates. $ 600,000 less than the cost of consulting to make external credit viable.
The former Minister Rafael Correa said that “this amount is within the interest and administrative cost of the loan, as described in the Comptroller’s report, and is essential for obtaining the loan.”
The loans requested by the IESS, between July 2016 and May 2017, were used to finance hospitals in Quito, Machala and Guayaquil. In the Main Port, for example, the Los Ceibos Hospital was built with a series of irregularities that the Comptroller’s Office investigates.
Espinosa said he will appeal the questions raised to the construction and financing of the Los Ceibos hospital complex.
This newspaper consulted the current authorities of the IESS and the representatives of the hospital but, until the close of this edition, it did not obtain an official response.
The social security accounts have more points that faced the Comptroller and Richard Espinosa. Last year, the control body ordered the dismissal of the then head of the IESS board for “eliminating” the debt that the State maintained with the institute.
The comptroller, Pablo Celi, also ordered the payment of $ 7,320 as a fine. The current Government plans to begin paying the debt in 2019.
The ‘blows’ to social security
The examinations of the Comptroller General of the State to the IESS are not limited only to the accounts and loans obtained by the entity. The management of the warehouses of the insurance hospitals is also reviewed.
According to the budget proposal, presented last week, the Government will pay 1,240 million dollars to the IESS for state contributions to social security. The total debt, recognized by the Comptroller’s Office, amounts to 2,500 million.
The Board of Monetary and Financial Regulation, led by the Executive, determined last week that the IESS may acquire more internal public debt to inject resources into the national government. (I)