Taxi collides with tram on Av. España; Volcanic ashfall rumors denied by officials; Correa fingered in ‘Bribes 2012-2016’ trial in Quito
A taxi sustained “significant damage” Wednesday morning when it collided with a tram on Av. España at Nunez de Bonilla. A video of the accident shows the taxi making an illegal left turn directly into the path of the tram and being spun to the side.
Transit police said the tram suffered minor “scratches” and that the accident only delayed tram testing by 20 minutes. Police say the taxi driver, who was fined for an illegal turn, will pay for repairs to the tram as well as to his own vehicle.
The tram office say the accident was the second during the current live tests that began January 2. “These mishaps are to be expected and are factored into system operations,” a tram official said.
Officials dismiss rumors that volcanic ash falls on Cuenca
The Risk Management Secretariat dismissed social media reports on Wednesday that ash clouds from the Sangay volcano posed a health risk to Cuenca. “There is no danger and comments to the contrary are incorrect,” the Secretariat said on its official Twitter account. Several Facebook and WhatsApp groups advised Cuenca residents to wear masks Wednesday due to volcanic ashfall.
According to the Secretariat, there was a two- to three-hour period on Tuesday when winds blew volcanic gas from the volcano over Cuenca. “The wind direction changed soon thereafter and there has been no pollution or health risk since then,” it said. “No ash fell in Azuay Province and we advise residents to consult official agencies for accurate reports on the situation.”
Correa implicated in ‘Bribes’ case testimony
The owner of a construction company testified Wednesday that former president Rafael Correa demanded a one million dollar payment in exchange for a highway construction contract in 2013. Pedro Verduga, owner of Equitesa, SA, said the demand was delivered by Walter Solís, then Natural Resources Secretary. The testimony came on the ninth day of the Sobornos 2012-1016 trial in Quito in which 22 former government officials and employees, including Correa, are charged.
Verduga also said he was “shaken down” for money on another occasion when the government delayed payment for work completed. “I went ahead and paid the bribe because I needed to pay my employees,” he said. “I was between a rock and a hard place.”