Salazar holds nothing back as she addresses National Assembly.
In a gripping address to the National Assembly on January 25th, Attorney General Diana Salazar delved into the Metastasis case, shedding light on the intricate web of corruption within the country and the challenges faced in combating organized crime. Salazar’s hour-long presentation outlined the progress made during 2023, with Metastasis taking center stage as the focal point of her report.
Metastasis, a case investigating the nexus between justice and organized crime, saw the involvement of over 400 judicial officials and resulted in the arrest of 31 individuals. However, Salazar expressed concern over a social media leak that allowed seven suspects to escape, without directly mentioning former President Rafael Correa’s role in the dissemination of the information.
“This is precisely what the Metastasis case is about: how criminal structures entrenched at various levels of the State and power, whether political, economic, and even through the media, act. They warn of the work of justice with the sole order to hinder our action,” Salazar emphasized, indirectly accusing Correa of involvement in organized crime.
Applause from groups such as Construye punctuated Salazar’s speech, while Correismo legislators, who are attempting to launch a political trial against her, remained notably silent.
Responding to criticism of her management, Salazar acknowledged the discomfort caused to certain groups and sectors, attributing it to her unwavering commitment to combating crime. Despite facing challenges, Salazar highlighted the Prosecutor’s Office’s determination to root out corruption and organized crime at all levels of society.
Gathering information globally
Turning her attention to the fight against terrorism, Salazar questioned the Assembly members, asking, “Who is financing terrorism, who is behind that car bomb near the city (Quito)?” She urged cooperation and stressed the international collaboration the Prosecutor’s Office maintains with countries such as Colombia, Spain, Montenegro, Italy, Kosovo, and particularly Albania.
Salazar emphasized the establishment of a “spontaneous transmission of information” system with these countries to effectively detect and counter transnational crime. She dispelled the notion that the absence of these cases on social networks or in the media implied a lack of collaboration, specifically pointing to the partnership with Albania.
Highlighting the challenges faced by the Prosecutor’s Office, Salazar underscored a deficit of 546 agents in the country to meet the growing demand for handling cases. Despite these obstacles, she reaffirmed the commitment to strengthening the fight against corruption and organized crime.
The day at the National Assembly saw not only Salazar but also the heads of seven other state entities presenting their accountability reports. Officials from the Contentious Electoral Court, the National Electoral Council, the Judiciary Council, and the Transparency and Social Control Function attended. Additionally, the heads of the State Attorney General’s Office, the Comptroller’s Office, and the Public Defender’s Office were present.
However, the attention of some legislators waned during these presentations, with empty seats and disengaged members illustrating the challenges of garnering widespread focus on issues of accountability and transparency.