Ecuador’s Vice President Ordered to Step Down over Mismanagement of Oil Exploration

Ecuador's Vice President
Vice President Glas called the decision “absurd and illegal,” and claimed he intends to make “an appeal to the Comptroller and the Contentious Administrative Tribunal on the unsolved resolution.” (Youtube)

EspañolThe Comptroller General of Ecuador has ordered for Vice President Jorge Glas to step down due to his involvement in the mismanagement of an oil exploration project.

The Singue field was handed over to a private consortium without fulfilling the requirements for the concession, which were Glas’ responsibility. Not only was Glas fired from his position as Vice President, but he was also fined US $5,840 — equivalent to 20 minimum wage payments in Ecuador.

The Comptroller’s decision was made after the 30-day deadline for Glas to respond to the accusations.

Glas — a member of the Hydrocarbons Bids Committee and Coordinating Minister of Strategic Sectors — was expected to testify about the lack of “sustenance related to requirements and procedural requirements for the exploration and/or exploitation of hydrocarbon deposits,” according to El Universo; however, the Vice President didn’t comply with that responsibility, allowing the  Comptroller to determine the “culpable administrative liability” of the Vice President in the case.

According to the Comptroller, Glas could have embezzled at least US $5.2 million, a figure paid by the state to the beneficiary companies for each barrel.

Vice President Glas called the decision “absurd and illegal,” and claimed he intends to make “an appeal to the Comptroller and the Contentious Administrative Tribunal on the unsolved resolution.”

“I want to declare publicly before the national and international community at large that I am the object of the most profound, aggressive and illegitimate political persecution that has been made against a public official in the country, with the aggravating circumstance of the Comptroller’s Office, the Attorney General, and even the supreme court conspiring against me.”

The Vice President has been in preventative custody since October 2 due to his alleged participation in accepting bribes from the Brazilian construction company, Odebrecht. President Lenín Moreno said that “a person cannot function as Vice President while incarcerated,” which is why he appointed interim Vice President María Alejandra Vicuña.

Jorge Glas is one of 18 people under investigation for supposed Odebrecht bribes, and one of 28 private citizens under investigation for irregular contracts that exploit petroleum from the Amazon region of the Sucumbíos province.

He said this “latest attack” on his office comes at a not-so-coincidental moment, in which a group of fellow Assembly members are filing for protection against Executive Decree 176 that appointed María Alejandra Vicuña to the office of acting Vice President.

The comptroller’s office has claimed that the Comptroller’s should dismiss Glas, and give him an opportunity to contest the decision before an Administrative Tribunal. The office also stated that “the decision includes a mandate that would prevent (Glas) from holding public office for two years.”

Sources: Efe, Infobae, El Comercio, El Universo, Sputnik, Extra, Hispan TV.

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