Ecuadorian president designates replacement of VP jailed on bribery charges

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-05 10:19:00|Editor: Song Lifang
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QUITO, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) -- Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said Wednesday he had found a temporary replacement for Vice President Jorge Glas, who had just been jailed on charges of bribery, and asked his legal team to analyze the judicial status of Glas.

Ecuadorian Housing and Urban Development Minister Maria Vicuna was designated acting vice president on Wednesday by a presidential decree.

"Lenin has entrusted the vice presidency to Maria Vicuna, due to the temporary absence of VP Jorge Glas," the general secretary of the presidency, Eduardo Mangas, tweeted.

Glas is one of 18 Ecuadorians accused of accepting bribes from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht in exchange for granting the company lucrative public works contracts.

Glas has denied the charges, but prosecutors considered him to be a flight risk and on Monday ordered his arrest pending trial.

"From my point of view, the country cannot be left with a vice president who is incapable of exercising his duties," Moreno told a gathering of reporters at the presidential headquarters on Wednesday.

"I have asked the team of lawyers to provide me with a mechanism I can use to remedy this absence," he added.

However, Glas had refused to step down, saying "resigning from the vice presidency would be akin to pleading guilty when I am innocent."

Glas worked alongside Rafael Correa who served as president from 2007 till May of 2017.

Odebrecht allegedly paid out some 33.5 million U.S. dollars in bribes in Ecuador from 2007 to 2016, as part of a larger bribery scheme that covers much of Latin America, including Peru, Mexico and Venezuela.