Today, at 09:00, the president of the Legislature, Elizabeth Cabezas, will present the bill for the Capital Recovery Act, which seeks to compensate the State for goods of fraudulent origin, especially for corruption issues.
What is this new bill about?
This Law on Capital Recovery, as we have called it, seeks to enable mechanisms of citizen participation in the processes of recovery of resources and ill-gotten capital, fundamentally. It does not contradict or replace normal legal processes, while it takes into account the viability of those who are involved in fraudulent processes of public funds, so that they give information on where these capitals can be located and avoid judicialization processes.
How would it work once approved?
The other thing is that the citizens, together with technical teams specialized in legal-financial issues, can do, under the supervision of the Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (Cpccs), a location of the capitals and then, obviously, a procedure for the return of them.
How is it different from the domain extermination law?
This mechanism can complement these issues when someone obtains information. It is not a proposal that pursues people, but pursues capital from illicit activities. And as a consequence of this it could tie in with the issue of asset domain extinction.
That is, they do not contradict, they can be complementary. In what sense can they be complementary?
In the fact that if there is an open judicial process of an investigation and, through this Law of capital recovery it is determined that certain resources are part of that process, it can rather pay tools to make that process more solid in your research and the results that are achieved.
Have there been experiences in other countries with similar laws?
There is similar jurisprudence in other countries. We have reviewed it and really yes they are mechanisms that allow to obtain returns, even at a moment until voluntary of those who are involved and prefer, in exchange for certain negotiations, to deliver this information and thus deliver those goods to the State.
How will civil society follow up on the cases for the return of these ill-gotten goods?
The Cpccs is the body that creates oversight. It has to be a registered watchdog that keeps track of all these processes. In addition, it has a high level of responsibility because the sources, the data provided here, must be very close to reality and protected by the people who provide this information.
Is it to say that this would work as if it were a betrayal?
The denunciation is already part of an open judicial process. In this case it is an information mechanism that can be complementary to the judicial processes that are underway.
How was the investigation of other laws abroad and how was it adapted for Ecuador?
We have adapted it quite well to the reality of the country, with the legal bases of standards in other countries, such as Argentina. We had a team of lawyers. It is not a long law, it is a short law, and we did it in a month of analysis, investigation and revision.
What do other state control bodies say about this initiative to recover assets?
This is what I am proposing, but that can still have contributions and modifications. But starting would be conceived within legal parameters and, in addition, processes that respect existing control procedures.
How long would the approval process for your proposal take in the National Assembly?
This law was not within the proposed schedule. I hope that between debates we can get it out in about three months. You have to talk to the Commission. I do not know if it is in the Justice (chaired by Marcela Aguiñaga, Mana), we must see. Or in the Citizen Participation (chaired by Héctor Yépez, Suma).
You said that it is not a punitive law … It does not pursue the person but the capitals … What does that mean?
That the capital is monitored that comes from activities that have not been lawful. Is there a weighted how much can be recovered with this Law? Any figure that comes into effect from this mechanism, this Law, will be a contribution to the needs and fulfillment of all the country’s objectives. (I)