An Ecuadorean judge has accepted a demand Tuesday for the National Assembly to start a corruption probe on President Lenin Moreno and high ranking officials who prevented the creation of an investigatory commission for the “Ina Papers” corruption case.
Ecuadorean Legislator Says Assembly President Influencing Votes
The protection order was requested by activist Felipe Ogaz on March 7, after a conversation leaked between National Assembly President Elizabeth Cabezas and Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, in which Cabezas pressured Romo into helping to prevent the creation of an investigatory commission to probe corruption allegations against Moreno in regard to the "INA Papers" accusations.
The case was exposed on February 19 by the digital platform "La Fuente" (The Source), owned by Fernando Villavicencio, an outspoken critic of ex-president Rafael Correa. The investigation presented a presumed link between Moreno and the company INA Investment Corp, a Panama tax haven, from which a series of payments, gifts, and purchases of furniture, and even an apartment in Spain were bought for the family of President Moreno.
Due to the National Assembly’s faltering to pursue the investigation, Ogaz argues the Ecuadorean people’s constitutional rights have been violated, consequently demanding integral reparation by requesting: the National Assembly to initiate the investigation for Moreno and the aforementioned audio, and for the sentence to be public.
The appeal was assigned to the Judicial Unit for Family, Women, Children, and Adolescents, based in Quito, whose judge, Raquel Herrera, accepted it and issued a ruling on March 19, 2019, to process it and by law hold a public hearing on April 1, 2019.
For this, 153 public officials, authorities and other defendants have been summoned. The defendants are President Moreno, all 137 National Assembly lawmakers, including its president, Elizabeth Cabezas, Interior Minister Romo, all the members of the Transparency and Social Control Function. And due to the gravity of the accusation also the Attorney General, Superintendent of Banks, Companies, Market Power Control, and Territorial Ordinance will be compelled to appear on court.
The resolutions adopted in this process have legal significance as they can advance criminal, civil and political-administrative responsibilities, which may lead to an impeachment against Moreno.