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Ecuador News

Current and former government officials to testify in 2010 murder case of Air Force general

Beginning next week, as many as 20 current and former government officials will be called to testify in the 2010 murder of Air Force General Jorge Gabela. Among those who may be called to testify later, according to federal prosecutors, is former president Rafael Correa.

General Jorge Gabela

Gabela, a former Air Forrce commander, was murdered in his Guayaquil home in December, 2010. A government panel convened by Correa concluded that the murder was committed by “common criminals” and was not part of a larger plot.

Gabela’s wife and a private investigator hired by the government disagreed and claimed the murder was the result of a “conspiracy by military financial interests.” They also claimed that the government’s conclusion about the murder was a “cover-up.” The investigator’s final report on his findings has disappeared from government files.

Most of those called to testify served on the panel that investigated the murder in 2011.

Gabela was an outspoken critic of the government’s plan to purchase Indian-made Dhruv helicopters in 2007 and 2008. He claimed the aircraft were inferior in quality and were unsuited for high-altitude flights in Ecuador’s Andean region. Despite Gabela’s objections, the government went ahead with the purchase of seven Dhruvs.

Following the purchase, four the helicopters crashed, killing four military personnel.

Among the officials called to testify are National Assemblyman and former minister of the interior José Serrano, former justice minister Ledy Zúñiga former defense minister Fernando Cordero, former defense minister and foreign minister and president-elect of the United Nations General Assembly María Fernanda Espinosa, former oil minister and prosecutor general Galo Chiriboga; former interior minister César Navas, and current legal secretary Johana Pesántez.