Impeachment talk intensifies in the Assembly but Attorney General says some evidence is flawed

Feb 18, 2023 | 25 comments

As National Assembly opponents of President Guillermo Lasso discuss his possible impeachment and dismissal, the special committee investigating corruption in public companies continues to hear to witness testimony.

On Thursday and Friday, the committee heard comments from Attorney General Diana Salazar that information about links to bribery, money laundering and drug trafficking in government-run companies being considered by the committee differs from what her investigators have found.

Attorney General Diana Salazar testified this week before the National Assembly committee investigating corruption in public companies.

Although she refused to provide investigation details due to confidentially laws governing open cases, she said there have been “leaks of some information” from her office. “Although some of the stolen records are accurate, others have been adulterated, possibly for political purposes,” she said.

She said an internal probe has been launched to determine those responsible for the leak.

In her second appearance before the Justice Committee, Salazar acknowledged that her prosecutors have determined some charges in the case lack evidence but refused to say which ones. “Our work will continue independent of proceedings of the Assembly,” she said. “We will continue to follow procedures of legal diligence and not be influenced by other interests.”

The committee has focused on three men allegedly involved in illegal activities at public companies, including Lasso’s brother-in-law, Danilo Carrera. Some assembly members have called on Salazar to charge Lasso in the case based on the family connection.

The Justice Committee must conclude its investigation and present a report to the full Assembly by next Wednesday. Following debate, the Assembly could begin impeachment proceedings against Lasso, a process that could take as long as three months, and requires a review by the Constitutional Court.

Although she says she is “reserving judgment” until all testimony has been heard and evaluated, Justice Committee President Viviana Veloz says impeachment of the president is a “potential outcome of the investigation.”

Several Assembly members say there are enough votes for impeachment. Democratic Left Assemblywoman Yeseña Guamaní says “there is good evidence” that Lasso’s referendum campaign was financed by drug money solicited through public companies. “We all wait for the committee’s findings but when this is all over, I believe Guillermo Lasso will be out of office.”

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