A new draft of the Comptroller’s special examination determined that Arcotel and Cordicom did not comply with five of 15 recommendations. They have five days to give an answer. The 15 recommendations to the last allocation contest of 1,472 radio and television frequencies were reviewed by the Comptroller.
Last June, the control body determined irregularities in the tender held on April 12, 2016, during the administration of ex-President Rafael Correa. Among them, three business groups were the biggest beneficiaries: Canela, Ángel González and Grupo Andrade.
These groups with 35 companies participated in the contest and were awarded at least 146 frequencies. In this review, it was recommended to the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (Arcotel) and the Communication Regulation Council (Cordicom) that the contest be annulled.
But this was not accepted by either of the two telecommunications institutions. This was checked on Wednesday, December 19, during the reading of the draft report to follow up on those warnings. That new review by the Comptroller concluded that Arcotel and Cordicom did not take actions to “cancel that contest.”
However, Edwin Almeida, director of Arcotel, responded that “the actions are executed”. Therefore, he added, the contest could not be canceled. “The Comptroller’s recommendations are in execution, it is an administrative process and no more details can be given until it is closed,” the official said.
But Pablo Celi, state comptroller, stressed that these decisions are mandatory and not discretionary. “The report clearly establishes the recommendation to revert that contest because there is concentration of frequencies,” he said.
In addition, the Comptroller’s draft report confirmed that Arcotel and Cordicom did not complete the process of reversing 10 frequencies, eight of them from the Canela group, linked to the candidate for mayor of Quito, Jorge Yunda, assembly member of Alianza PAIS ( AP) Those anomalies were registered in their companies: Gamboa Comunicación Total, Radioeventos, Coastal Television, JH Radio, Ibarra Radio, and Radio Canela. And two frequencies of the Andrade group, which belong to the Manabi entrepreneur Lenin Andrade: Audio News Manabí and Radio Capital.
The Comptroller’s Office determined that these 10 cases were irregular because they changed their owner or legal representative, without authorization from Arcotel. Even the report indicates that economic fines were not applied for the transfer of shares and participations to the beneficiaries of the frequencies.
The cases of 300 concessions, now called enabling titles, were also not reviewed. In this case, the Arcotel clarified that the review is underway but that it cannot be advanced due to the deadlines determined by law.
Satellite Television, outside the eye of the Arcotel
In the special examination on the frequency contest of the 2016, published in June of this year, the Comptroller found irregularities in the allocation of frequencies for satellite television, linked to Ricardo Rivera, uncle of former Vice President Jorge Glas.
At the same time, he recommended to the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (Arcotel) to review the technical qualification received by that television station during the process. In the draft report read yesterday it was determined that the Regulation Agency did not comply with the request of the control body.
The Comptroller’s Office reported that there was no administrative decision to comply with the recommendation. That channel participated by four frequencies for Santa Elena, Bolívar, Chimborazo and Pichincha, but did not meet the requirements. It was disqualified in first instance.
The audit of that time detailed that the Arcotel, through an administrative act, enabled – illegally – Televisión Satelital to follow the process. (I)