Ecuadorian oil workers on leave for corruption

08:39, September 19, 2010      

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 At least 628 employees at Petroecuador, a state-run oil company, have been suspended for suspected corruption, Transparency Minister Sebastian Roldan said Friday.

  The suspects, accounting for nearly 10 percent of Petroecuador's workforce, were given a 90-day leave while officials examine the charges, Roldan said..

  Roldan said that the suspected employees are shareholders of a company that has a 10-year contract, signed in 2005, to provide fuel storage and distribution in central and northern Ecuador.

  "In other words, this is an enormously profitable agreement - I authorize the pay-ments, and as a shareholder I benefit from the profits," Roldan said, adding that such agreements are banned by Ecuador's constitution and the labor code.

  All workers found to be involved in the suspected scheme should be sanctioned, Non- Renewable Resources Minister Wilson Pastor said.

  Petroecuador has 6,417 employees. It's responsible for nearly 60 percent of Ecuador's oil production. The rest is produced by foreign companies, including the Spanish-Argentine Repsol-YPF consortium.

  Ecuador, the smallest member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, produced 478,000 barrels of oil per day between January and July.

Source: Global Times


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