QUITO – Ecuador’s minister of Transportation and Public Works resigned rather than cancel government contracts awarded to President Rafael Correa’s brother.
Correa accepted the resignation of Xavier Casal and named Deputy Minister David Ortiz to the post, Ecuavisa television reported.
In a subsequent press conference at the presidential palace, Ortiz announced the termination of the ministry’s contracts with firms owned by Fabricio Correa.
Though there is no proof of irregularities in the awarding of the contracts, President Correa viewed his brother’s involvement as unethical and ordered the deals canceled.
Press accounts indicate that the president’s decision created a rift between the two brothers, while an executive with one of Fabricio Correa’s firms, Cosurca, said Thursday that the company has already filed a $37.8 million suit against the government.
Maximo Villavicencio said the court filing would prevent the government from terminating the contracts by administrative fiat.
The Cosurca executive also accused President Correa’s legal adviser, Alexis Mera, of pressuring Casal to cancel the contracts.
Villavicencio said Casal resigned because he was unwilling to “violate the law” in order to defuse the political controversy over the contracts for Fabricio Correa. EFE