On February 19th, Ecuador’s Anti-Corruption Secretary, Iván Granda, and Minister of Foreign Affairs & Human Mobility, José Valencia, hosted the first meeting for the creation of the International Anti-Corruption Commission. Attendees included the diplomatic corps, members of multilateral organizations, and civil society representatives.
Granda indicated that the three objectives of the Commission were:
- Corruption prevention;
- Investigation of alleged cases of corruption; and
- Combating and prosecuting acts of corruption – including the repair and recovery of assets accrued through money laundering.
The Commission will operate in coordination with the United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), and Transparency International. The body will include five international experts to detect, investigate, report, and prosecute cases. However, the modus operandi is still in the works.
The commission is intended to support state institutions in charge of denouncing, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting acts of corruption. At the moment, the Commission is expected to operate until the end of President Moreno’s term in 2021.
Since the start of Moreno’s presidency in May 2017, his government has handled more than 500 complaints of possible corrupt acts committed by former public officials, which reflects Ecuador’s history of corrupt public servants – including former Vice President Jorge Glas’ involvement in the Brazilian firm Odebrecht’s corruption schemes, for which he was sentenced to six years in prison. Odebrecht acknowledged giving bribes of $33.5 million to Ecuadorian officials in return for the awarding of state contracts between 2007 and 2016. This scandal broke during Rafael Correa’s presidency – Lenin Moreno’s predecessor.
At the moment, Ecuador ranks 114th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index making it the 4th most corrupt country in South America. The U.S. Department of State’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, Volume II Money Laundering (2017) also identified Ecuador as a major money laundering jurisdiction.