In a Tuesday court appearance, former presidential aid Pamela Martínez corroborated earlier testimony by an assistant that she managed financial contributions demanded by former president Rafael Correa to the Alianza Pais political party.
According the federal attorney general’s office, the contributions were part of an extortion and bribery scheme to fund Correa’s political activities and Alianza Pais campaigns.
Martínez also confirmed testimony from her assistant, Laura Terán, that Correa ordered all records of the contributions from government contractors, including Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, destroyed.
Appearing before National Court of Justice Judge Daniella Camacho, a tearful Martínez apologized to her husband, her family and Terán for her participation in the so-called “Sobornos “2012-2016” (Bribes 2012-2016) transactions that involved not only Correa but other top government and Alianza Pais officials. Although she claims she was “simply following orders,” Martínez admitted that she knew the contributions were “probably extorted” and may have been illegal.
In her testimony, Martínez told how the contributions were processed in a building behind the Carondelet presidential palace in Quito and that she personally delivered cash to several government officials. Some of those deliveries, she said, involved as much as $300,000.
Martínez recounted phone conversations with Correa in 2017, after he had left office, in which the former president told her to destroy records of the contributions. “He ordered me to destroy all the information related to the the payments,” she testified, adding that he a called back on more than one occasion to reconfirm that the data had been eliminated. Martínez said she passed on the order to Terán.
According to government prosecutors, not all information related to the case was destroyed. They say they have a “considerable amount of records” in their possession.
In addition to Correa, Martínez said she had conversations with other officials, including former minister of foreign affairs Ricardo Patina, in an effort to confirm that evidence of the payments was destroyed.
In a Tweet from his home in Belgium, Correa claimed that Martínez’s and Terán’s testimony were “lies.”