Attorney General opens bribery investigation of Chinese construction company projects

Oct 10, 2017 | 12 comments

Ecuador Attorney General Carlos Baca said Monday that a Chinese construction firm may have paid bribes to Ecuadorian government officials. The investigation of China International Water and Electric (CWE) stems from testimony in the Odebrecht bribery case, he said.

The Toachi-Pilatón hydroelectric dam.

CWE was the primary contractor for the Toachi-Pilatón hydroelectric plant in Santo Domingo Province, a flood control project in Guayas Province, and for housing units at Yachay University in Imbabura Province. According to Baca, prosecutors are reviewing the contracts of those projects.

Suspicions about potential CWE bribes were raised when Odebrecht director José Conceição Santos testified in August that Vice President Jorge Glas demanded a personal payment of one percent of the value of all contracts that he was responsible for. Subsequently, the testimony of other Odebrecht officials repeated Santos’ claim.

“We are actively pursuing this and other information in our effort to uncover corruption wherever it might have occurred,” Baca said.

The exac tvalue of CWE contracts under review is not known, although a prosecutor said that it is over one billion dollars. From 2012 until 2016, the company reported income of $921 million in Ecuador.

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