Ecuador's judge Marco Rodriguez called to trial former lawmaker Eliseo Azuero, and former National Public Procurement Service (Secob) Deputy Director Jorge Jalil, for the alleged crime of organized crime due to the diversion of funds destined to the construction of a public hospital in the city of Pedernales in the coastal province of Manabí.
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The list of defendants connected to the case, among officials, contractors, and collaborators, reached 19 people. Despite the judge's decision, the trial against Azuero and Jalil has no start date as they are both fugitives from justice. The crime of organized crime cannot be tried in absentia in Ecuador.
According to the Attorney General's Office, Azuero was at the top of the organized crime structure, along with his former co-worker, Daniel Mendoza, who accepted the crime and will be in jail for four years.
Judge Rodriguez called also three other people to trial and ratified the arrest warrant against all the defendants. Additionally, he ordered the retention of accounts, shares, and participation, as well as the prohibition to dispose of assets.
Eight other defendants were sentenced on the same case to 54 months in prison, including the former president of the Economic and Taxation Regime Commission of the Parliament Daniel Mendoza.
During the trial, Mendoza pointed out to the Minister of Government Maria Paula Romo as the alleged articulator between the Executive and the Legislative powers in the management of public hospitals granted to several lawmakers in exchange for political favors.
According to Mendoza lawmakers from Democratic Action (BADI) would have received public posts that allowed them to agree on contracts endorsed by the Ministry of Government. He assured that 19 congressmen would be in charge of hospitals in the provinces of Pichincha, Santo Domingo, Guayas, Manabi, Santa Elena, Sucumbios, El Oro, Cotopaxi, Bolivar, and Napo.
Minister Romo has denied the accusations, pointing out that it is a matter of revenge on the part of former lawmaker Mendoza.