A report of criminal responsibility of the Comptroller determines a damage to the State for $ 31.4 million.
With an investment of just over one billion dollars and 187 selected students from the country, on March 31, 2014, the Yachay Experimental Technological University began its academic work. Designed to have 10,000 students by the year 2.040, it would promote scientific research, technological development and the dissemination of knowledge. This is part of the so-called Yachay City of Knowledge, the first planned city in Ecuador with a university, research and industrial nature.
The “educational megaproject” promoted by the previous government has an area of 4,461 hectares and is located in the canton of San Miguel de Urcuquí, province of Imbabura. According to the initiative, the aim is to develop, together with the public and private sectors, Ecuador’s first technological park and the first city of its kind. In the first two years of operation, it grew noticeably. In infrastructure, the number of buildings, laboratories and green spaces multiplied.
However, five years after five days of the start of the educational center, the megaproject has technical, financial and, what is worse, legal problems. Irregularities and corruption The City of Knowledge, which was one of the emblematic projects of the Correistas, today works half-heartedly, is at risk and in the hands of justice.
This is because a year ago, on April 4, 2018, the State Comptroller, Pablo Celi, sent the Special Prosecutor’s Office the special examination carried out to Yachay, where it establishes indications of criminal responsibility for the crime of embezzlement. The Comptroller’s office determined a loss to the State of $ 31.4 million in the engineering, studies, inspection and construction of five of the 10 buildings on the Yachay university campus.
The report DNA2-0015-2018 details the responsibilities of three former authorities of the public company Yachay, the consulting firm Hospiplan, the construction company ConEcuakor and the control consortium HP.C. The auditors noted that the construction of the five buildings is stopped two years ago, due to deflections and cracks in elements such as beams, slabs and stairs.
In addition, they established that, by decision of Yachay EP authorities, the design of the buildings was arbitrarily changed. They found that the laboratory complex does not have exterior columns and beams, as specified in the structural plans. But the problems were not just construction.
The report of the Comptroller General states that the works began without completed studies or plans approved by the Municipality of Urcuquí. In addition, as the work progressed, the builders changed the specifications of materials and, therefore, the costs of the buildings. On September 12, 2017, President Lenin Moreno visited Yachay to verify the situation. “I have found many flaws, many deficiencies, inadequacies,” he said.
For the ex-manager of Yachay, Jorge Martínez, the current big problem is financing.
Prosecutor’s Office opened three confidential investigative proceedings
Due to the irregularities detected in Yachay, the Prosecutor’s Office initiated three investigations. Of these, the one with a criminal responsibility report opened in Quito. The other two were accumulated in one and is in charge of the Prosecutor’s Office of Urcuquí.
The Prosecutor’s Office informed EL TELÉGRAFO that “the three are under investigation and stopped”, according to the prosecutors in charge of the cases, because of the high cost of hiring the experts. The value ranges between $ 20,000 and $ 25,000, and five skills are required.
Faced with this situation, the Legal Department of the Office of the Prosecutor and the prosecutor in charge in Quito manage before the guilds of professionals in engineering to try that some of the professionals accept to be an expert. The problem is that the maximum ceiling that the Prosecutor’s Office can pay is $ 3,900, depending on the expertise.
According to Attorney General Ruth Palacios, it has not been possible to expedite the investigations of all the Comptroller’s reports, not only due to the lack of experts, but also due to the limited number of prosecutors. The Comptroller’s examination is one of the 92 that with criminal responsibility report has sent to the Office of the Prosecutor between June 1, 2017 and January 1, 2019
In previous statements, the Comptroller, Pablo Celi, said that apart from the report sent to the Prosecutor’s Office, around 14 special examinations are made to the Yachay administration. (I)