Ecuador’s Comptroller General Pablo Celi is recommending that President Lenin Moreno fire Ecuadorian Institute of Social Security (IESS) director Richard Espinosa. Celi says Espinosa failed to meet a deadline to justify his handling of a $2.5 billion debt owed to IESS by the government.
The comptroller had given Espinosa 30 days, until November 21, to provide the explanation.
The charges against Espinosa stem from his actions during the Rafael Correa administration, when he claimed that the government owed nothing to IESS. In September 2016, Espinosa said that despite the fact that the $2.5 billion debt appeared on IESS books, there was nothing in the law that required it to be paid.
After Espinosa’s statement, the debt was removed from the books. The action prompted protests from retiree groups that non-payment of the debt jeopardized the financial health of IESS.
Celi, who assumed comptroller duties after Moreno’s election, said that the government did, in fact, owe the $2.5 billion and that Espinosa’s 2016 claim was an attempt to protect the position of the Correa administration, allowing it to avoid its responsibility.
Celi’s recommendation for the dismissal of Espinosa has been sent to the president’s office.