Ecuador comptroller Pablo Celi announced Monday that he has appointed a citizen oversight committee to examine Ecuador’s public debt from 2012 to 2017. Among those who may be called to provide information is former president Rafael Correa.
According to Celi, the committee will audit government accounts and procedures in contracting debt and determine if debt agreements conform with transparency laws. In what Celi called “provisional observations,” he raised concerns about cases of potential secrecy in debt-related negotiations and the use of oil to underwrite debt. He also listed a decree issued by Correa that changed the method of calculating national debt as being “problematic.”
Correa, who is in Ecuador to campaign against the February 4 referendum, called the comptroller’s investigation an “instrument of persecution,” adding that its intent of theinvestigation was to serve as a distraction from the referendum campaign.
Shortly after taking office, President Lenin Moreno criticized Correa for leaving Ecuador’s economy in poor condition and for misstating the extent of the national debt. Moreno said the real debt amounted to $42 billion, about $15 billion more than Correa acknowledged.
In addition to Correa, others who will be asked to meet with the committee include former finance minister, Fausto Herrera; the ex-manager of the Central Bank of Ecuador, Diego Martínez; and current superintendent of the Popular and Solidarity Economy (SEPS), Patricio Rivera.