Ecuadorean National Assembly’s Legislative Administration Council (CAL) approved Sunday to start an inquiry against the head of the Legislative, Elizabeth Cabezas, in the case of a leaked audio, regarding the INA Papers corruption case.
INA Papers: The Corruption Case Against Ecuador's President Lenin Moreno
With six votes in favor and one against, the council members accepted the accusation presented by lawmaker Amapola Naranjo against the President of the National Assembly. The session was not chaired by Cabezas, yet she entered the meeting, presented two motions and subsequently excused herself from directing it for "ethical" reasons.
A multiparty commission will be formed to investigate the conversation between Cabezas and Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo, in which Cabezas pressures Romo into helping to prevent the creation of an investigatory commission to probe corruption allegations against President Lenin Moreno in regard to the INA Papers accusations.
The case involves a publication made on Feb. 19 by "La Fuente" (The Source), a digital news outlet 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 offshore firm, from which a series of payments, gifts, purchases of furniture and even a luxury apartment in Spain were bought for the president’s family.
Ecuador National Assembly to Start Corruption Probe of Moreno
This comes as more processes add up into a national probe against the Head of State. Former President Rafael Correa said that the trail of corruption more than ever “points toward Moreno.” On Wednesday, with 74 votes, the National Assembly approved a resolution that requires the Inspection Commission to carry out an analysis of the same publication.
While on Monday, April 1, Moreno, 153 public officials, authorities and other defendants have been compelled to appear in front of judiciary hearing regarding Cabezas and the National Assembly's prior refusal to start the corruption probe. Separate to this process, Saturday Ecuador’s Attorney General initiated a preliminary inquiry into the whole set of accusations, presented by lawmaker Ronny Aleaga.
Meanwhile, Moreno and Cabezas are pushing back against the accusations saying the leaks are part of a smear campaign against his government because Aleaga is a member of the Citizen Revolution, a political movement founded by former President Rafael Correa.
“Our fight is against the true corrupt officials, not to destabilize the government. We owe ourselves to the people," tweeted Citizen Revolution lawmajer Amapola Naranjo after the decision was made.
Tuesday another legislator of Citizen Revolution, Lira Villalva, publicly denounced political persecution as the National Assembly President, accused Aleaga of three crimes: violation of privacy, illegal association, and illegal data interception.