The former mayor of Quito Jorge Yunda is one of the 14 accused by the Prosecutor’s Office of having participated in the crime of embezzlement that occurred in the capital city.
“I have asked the lawyers what is embezzlement and they have told me that it is my having benefited or having benefited someone. Here, absolutely no one but the population has benefited. I have not benefited. If for those decisions I have to face a deprivation of liberty of 14 years, I know that my conscience will be clear because if I had not done so, I would never have been able to sleep in peace with the number of deaths that would have existed in this city ”.
With that statement, the former mayor of Quito ended up giving his testimony, on the morning of this Wednesday, October 20. Jorge Yunda, who opened the stage of presentation of expert evidence, testimonials and documentaries that his defense maintains to reject the prosecution’s accusation for the crime of embezzlement that occurred in the purchase of 100,000 tests to detect COVID-19, carried out by the Ministry of Health of the Municipality of the Ecuadorian capital in 2020.
At 09:00 this Wednesday, in the North Judicial Complex, in Quito, the fifteenth day of the hearing was installed trial against the now former mayor and thirteen other people. Yunda’s lawyers are the first defense that will present the evidence that the accused party maintains, since it took the provincial prosecutor of Pichincha, Alberto Santillán, 14 days to present all the evidentiary burden that he maintained against the accused as a mediate author. , direct authors and accomplices.
In the case for embezzlement against Jorge Yunda, the Prosecutor’s Office concludes the presentation of 140 testimonial and documentary expert evidence
Yunda explained to the Court presided over by provincial judge Wilson Lema that she decided to speak, despite the fact that her lawyer suggested that she not give her version. In his story, the former mayor made a chronological account of how it evolved the coronavirus pandemic internationally and in Ecuador, always emphasizing the lack of expertise that existed throughout the world to treat the new virus and the lack of medical supplies that were available at that time, as well as the daily increase in everything that was used to face the health crisis.
He recalled that the Municipality of Quito does not have health as its competence, since constitutionally it corresponds to the central State, the Ministry of Health. However, he said, the Municipality has a Ministry of Health whose function primary is prevention, health education and with these prevention powers took a series of “timely, diligent, fast and effective” measures.
Jorge Yunda defended the provisions and delegations that he issued within the emergency to the different municipal institutions, especially the Ministry of Health. He pointed out that it is physically impossible for the mayor to get to sign thousands of contracts for an entire municipality with a budget of $ 2 billion.
“Managers, secretaries, technical, legal, financial, public procurement teams are delegated to do so and they are not delegated to buy COVID tests, they are delegated to buy medical supplies for face this pandemic ”, Yunda pointed out, and said that in this hearing what has been tried to show is that the tests were not valid and that he told his officials to cover everything, when the reality was that everything that was said on the subject was reported to the full Metropolitan Council and not only to the mayor.
Of the fourteen prosecuted for the crime of embezzlement in this case, Yunda assures that she only knows one of them, the former Secretary of Health Lenín Mantilla. He does not locate the rest and therefore questions whether it is said that he is the head of a “Criminal organization”. He stressed that with whom he chatted and texted was directly with officials, but within the framework of the law.
The 56-year-old doctor by profession assured that he had never had to hire a criminal lawyer before, that he had never has been in a circumstance of this nature and recalled that to face In this trial, his family has even had to get rid of some property to face this situation.
The Prosecutor’s Office accuses Yunda as a mediator; While as direct perpetrators of embezzlement, he accuses Lenín Mantilla and Juan Alejandro Vinelli, manager of Salumed SA Eleven more people are accused as co-authors, among them, Ximena Abarca, former Secretary of Health; Linda Guamán, former technical coordinator of the Secretariat of health; Daysi H., Jessica C., Erick A., Marco R., Simón V., Enrique B., Diego S., Iván M. and José M.
According to the Prosecutor’s Office, instead of the PCR-Polymerase tests, the Ministry of Health of the Capital Municipality would have received RT LAMP diagnostic tests, which would be less capable of detecting the virus than required in the contract. In other words, they would not have complied with the technical specifications requested, and even so they were accepted by the Ministry of Health.
Jorge Yunda claims not to have committed embezzlement at the beginning of the trial hearing for the purchase of tests to detect coronavirus
The Prosecutor’s Office theory is completed with the fact that Salumed would have been chosen despite the fact that they had other proposals that offered to cover the requirements that, in the framework of the health emergency, the council had, among these, the acquisition of 200,000 kits for detection of COVID-19 by PCR-Polymerase and at a better price. In addition, the accusing party believes that the termination of the contract should not have been given by mutual agreement, but rather unilaterally.
On this subject, Jorge Yunda said: “I asked my team and they told me, Mr. Mayor, it cannot be finished in any other way because there is a current law that prohibits ending unilaterally and only allows it to end by mutual agreement.” He stated that as mayor he was always asking if there were any It is detrimental to the Municipality and believes that there is none, because no evidence has expired, no evidence has been discontinued and all evidence was used to save “tens of thousands of lives.”
He also criticized that in the process the pronouncements made by experts that indicated the efficiency of the tests were not taken into account and that this helped to flatten the COVID-19 contagion curve in the Metropolitan District of Quito. He also referred to the fact that the chats that he as mayor have been decontextualized in the audience held with municipal officials about the sensitivity of tests and that none of the chats read in the diligence reveals a criminal order or disposition outside the scope of his powers as mayor.
“Here in Quito we had to mourn more than 3,000 deaths and surely there would have been fewer, because the legal problems and the research made it extremely difficult to continue testing, it made it enormously difficult to continue saving lives and that will remain in the conscience of each one of the people, “said the former mayor, who stopped speaking to the Court after stating that he does not regret what he did, because he saved tens of thousands of lives.
Yunda spoke for about 50 minutes before the Trial Court and then submitted to the questioning of the parties. At the moment the diligence continues with the intervention of the defense of the former mayor of the Metropolitan District of Quito. (I)
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