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  • Abdala Bucaram wearing a blue shirt surrounded by boxes with medical supplies in his home, Guayaquil, Ecuador, June 3, 2020.

    Abdala Bucaram wearing a blue shirt surrounded by boxes with medical supplies in his home, Guayaquil, Ecuador, June 3, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @FiscaliaEcuador

Published 3 June 2020
Opinion

Previously, independent outlets denounced the acquisition of medical supplies with a surcharge.

Ecuador's former President Abdala Bucaram was detained in an operation carried out to investigate allegations of corruption in the purchase of medical supplies during the health emergency declared by the President Lenin Moreno administration.

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Ecuador Faces Wave of Corruption Amid Pandemic

Early Wednesday morning, authorities raided Bucaram's home as part of investigations into alleged embezzlement in purchases of medical supplies at a public hospital.

In his home, they found KN-95 masks, rapid tests to detect COVID-19, and a pistol for which the conservative politician had no possession permit.

Abdala Bucaram is part of a Lebanese-descent dynasty that has controlled some areas of the Guayaquil city for decades.

He was president of Ecuador for just 6 months, from August 10, 1996, to February 6, 1997, when he was removed from office by the National Congress after being declared mentally unfit to rule.

Subsequently, Bucaram went into exile in Panama for almost two decades to evade several corruption charges that were laid against him.

"Breaking: Ex-President Abdala Bucaram has been detained in Guayaquil after a raid on his home."

In June 2017, the populist politician returned to Ecuador and began supporting Fuerza Ecuador, a party controlled by his son who has turned Christianity into the Bucaram dynasty's new flag to win supporters.

As part of the alliances to stay in power, the Moreno administration granted the Bucaram the management of some public institutions, among which are the hospitals linked to the Ecuadorian social security system.

"The recent purchase with a surcharge of bags for the transfer of corpses at Guayaquil's Los Ceibos hospital reveals the existence of an organized corruption structure that operates in hospital centers," local independent outlet Pichincha Comunicaciones denounced in May.

"Each body bag was purchased for US$149 when other suppliers offered the same product from US$12," it added.​​​​​​​

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