A judge has ordered that ETAPA general manager Iván Palacio be held in “preventive detention” as a pretrial investigation continues into allegations that he awarded a $10 million water project contract to his relatives. ETAPA, a Cuenca public utility company, manages the city’s water, sewer and telecommunications services.
Judge José Peralta ordered the detention after national police discovered that Palacio had purchased a Guayaquil to Miami airplane ticket. Palacio will be held for at least 90 days at the Turi Rehabilition Center in Cuenca as the investigation continues.
The federal prosecutor’s office raided ETAPA offices two weeks ago, collecting documents and computer files in an investigation into the awarding of the contract in the construction of a large water treatment plant. The prosecutor said that 20% of the $10,666,000 contract had already been given to the Delcon Consfercor Consortium, a company owned by Palacio’s uncle and cousin, identified as Iván F. and Jorge F.
According Ecuador’s Criminal code, Palacio and his relatives face three to five years in prison if convicted.