President Guillermo Lasso is demanding that the full National Assembly reject a committee report recommending he be impeached for holding off-shore investments. The investments were revealed in the Pandora Papers, a project of international journalists that listed the financial accounts and assets of government officials as well as the rich and famous.
“This is nothing less than an attempted coup d’etat and I expect all reasonable people to see the report for what it is,” Lasso said in statement. “I have fully complied with the law and proven that I closed all affected accounts in accordance with the 2017 law. I have provided documentation to the Comptroller and Attorney General, which are the only legal entities authorized to investigate the matter.”
In its final report the, the Assembly’s Constitutional Guarantees Commission claimed there are two grounds for dismissal of Lasso from office: illegal activity regarding his off-shore accounts and “serious political crisis and internal commotion” resulting from his presidency. The full Assembly has three days to approve or disapprove the report that could then lead to an impeachment trial.
Lasso’s supporters are calling the report a “Correista” plot to remove the president from office. “This is a total sham since the report admits the committee does not have the evidence of financial illegality,” the CREO political bloc said in a statement Saturday. “The claim of political commotion and crisis is not constitutional grounds for removal from office and is only a figment of the imagination of the president’s opponents.”
The Ministry of the Interior repeated Lasso claim that the commission report “promotes a coup d’état.” In a letter to the media and public, the ministry said the recommendation that Lasso be removed from office is “a sectarian plot by Correista UNES Assembly members.”
“The president will make use of all legal and constitutional tools to confront the coup adventure of Correísmo,” the letter said. “We are confident that, in the end, this attempt will fail based on a lack of evidence supporting the charges.”
In its report, the Constitutional Guarantees Commission said it did not have evidence that Lasso committed criminal offenses since the Pandora Papers made no claims about the legality of the accounts and assets it revealed.The commission forwarded a request to the Attorney General and Comptroller that they investigate the overseas accounts.
If the National Assembly undertakes impeachment proceedings, 70 percent of members must vote for Lasso’s removal from office.