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Citizen council asks the attorney general to include Correa in Pacific refinery investigation

The Council of Citizen Participation and Social Control (CPCCS) has asked the attorney general to include former president Rafael Correa in the investigation of public funds misuse in the construction of the Pacific Refinery in Manabi Province.

CPCCS president Cesar Trujillo at a press conference Monday in Quito. (El Comercio)

“We have presented documents that justify our complaint of the biggest robbery against the economy of this country,” Julio César Trujillo, president of the CPCCS, said on Tuesday when he and his staff delivered the charges to the attorney general’s office. “We ask that the information of misuse of public money and possible corruption that we present be fully investigated.”

Currently, the massive refinery project which cost the government about $1.3 billion during the Correa administration, sits abandoned. The project was a partnership between Ecuador and Venezuela’s national oil company but Venezuela stopped supporting it due to its financial crisis.

Among several charges against Correa, Trujillo said the former president’s decision to use emergency powers to bypass public oversight was the most serious. “The president issued executive decrees that applied emergency power over Ecuador’s petroleum system, including Petroecuador, that allowed the expenditure of massive amounts of money without technical justification.”

In documents submitted to the attorney general, CPCCS claims that there are no licenses, permits or documentation justifying much of the project spending.

From his home in Belgium, Correa responded to the charges via Twitter, calling them “another chapter of the witch hunt.” He added that much of the project spending went to strengthen infrastructure in cantons near the project site.