Ecuador‘s ex-president Rafael Correa is currently facing criminal charges for using public funds to kidnap an opposition politician. New evidence has emerged to indicate that his government planned to pay the lawyers of the ex-intelligence agents who executed the operation to kidnap the pro-government politician turned opponent Fernando Balda.
According to the statements of one of the police accused of having hired the kidnappers in Colombia, the reason for the kidnapping was to silence Balda for exposing a pending sexual harassment lawsuit against Correa.
The prosecutor in charge, Paúl Pérez, has in his possession a document declassified by the National Secretariat of Intelligence (Senain), with enough evidence to proceed to trial.
This document incriminates two former intelligence officers, Raúl Chicaiza and Diana Falcón, but makes it clear that they were not the masterminds of Balda’s kidnapping, but acted on the orders of Rafael Correa through intelligence secretary Pablo Romero.
According to the evidence presented to the prosecutor, the two policemen hired the law firm Mejía Quintero, given that they were facing charges from prosecution in Colombia.
They were identified as those who hired a criminal gang that executed the failed kidnapping of Balda.
According to the documents, the total amount to be paid with public funds was USD $200,000 for legal fees, plus 16% of the value added tax (VAT) for “seeking a favorable judicial resolution, and beating the charges presented by the Colombian authorities.”
Public funds were also used to pay for the multiple trips to Colombia by the now ex-agents, all financed by the Ecuadorian taxpayer.
Also, among the evidence presented to the prosecutor, are letters to Rafael Correa issued by the police involved in the kidnapping that indicate: “up until now, those to whom you gave express orders to solve this problem, have done nothing.”
The “Mameluco” Case
One of the signatories of the letters is agent Chicaiza, whose testimony is part of the evidence against Correa that the prosecution has in its possession;,in addition to recorded conversations between the two agents and intelligence secretary, Pablo Romero.
It was Chicaiza who declared that Correa was aware of the kidnapping and that the reason for it was to silence Balda for exposing in his blog the “Mameluco case”, where he accuses Correa of sexual harassment against Xavier Andrés Herrería Ramírez and exposes a supposed complaint filed with the prosecution.
Ferndando Balda was a member of the governing party, Alianza País, which Rafael Correa has abandoned due to his feud with the current president Lenin Moreno, who was his vice president. However, when he left the ruling party, Balda joined the opposition and became an alternate deputy, until the incumbent died and he assumed office.
Thus far the members of the Colombian kidnapping gang have been arrested and sentenced. Correa, who is currently evading the Ecuadorian justice system in his wife’s native Belgium has a major problem on his hands, as it appears that the attempted kidnapping was carried out under the order of Rafael Correa with public funds.
Correa is now absent from his own criminal proceedings in Ecuador, and is prohibited from running for reelection due to a term limits measure passed by a referendum sponsored by current president Lenin Moreno.
However, Correa still commands a loyal following on the hard-left, and the Moreno-Correa power dispute has fractured the ruling Alianza Pais party.