A few days after having sworn in as the highest authority of the Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM), the engineer Eleodoro Mayorga In an interview with El Comercio, he commented on the orders that the then President Ollanta Humala had given him. “His great concern is to complete the important infrastructure projects in the sector: the pipeline, the Talara refinery and relaunch investment in mining and oil exploration and development, “he replied.
Today, that first aforementioned commission, that of the gas pipeline, is the center of an investigation by the special Lava Jato team that is in the preparatory stage and that could take 36 months to preventive detention not only for Mayorga, but also for former First Lady Nadine. Heredia and the former Minister of Economy and Finance, Luis Miguel Castilla.
Humala’s then concern is probably now a headache for Mayorga at the request of the prosecution, which in last month’s document in which it formalized the preparatory investigation held that the former minister had a “special interest” in the project.
Almost two weeks after that action, the prosecutor Geovana Mori presented the request for preventive detention last Wednesday and the Judiciary will hold a hearing this Monday. But who is Eleodoro Mayorga And how is he involved in the case?
He was appointed as Minister of Energy and Mines on February 24, 2014 and left office on February 17, 2015. During his tenure, the Ollanta Humala government granted the consortium made up of Odebrecht and Enagás the concession of the “Project improvements to the energy security of the country and development of the Gasoducto Sur Peruano ”.
His expertise in the oil and hydrocarbon sector supported him for such a position, since at that time the government was looking to execute the southern gas pipeline project shortly. And the contract between the State and the aforementioned company was signed on July 23, 2014, four months after his swearing in as head of the MEM.
He wore the ministerial sash after more than 40 years of experience in the study, negotiation and financing of projects and in advising for the formulation of sector policies; the preparation of loan and technical assistance operations, also regarding natural gas, considering the development of regulations in favor of efficiency and transparency, among others.
All this as a petroleum engineer from the National University of Engineering (UNI) and a doctorate in Economics from the University of Paris X. Before becoming a minister, he held important positions in Petro-Peru (where he began working in 1969), the Ministry itself , the World Bank and also in the private sector. For example, between 2010 and 2014, until before joining the Executive, he was a partner in the firm Laub & Quijandría Consultores y Abogados, owned by Christian Laub and the late former Minister of Energy and Mines, Jaime Quijandría.
It should be noted that the inclusion of Mayorga in the criminal process is possible because more than five years of his functions have already elapsed and the immunity enjoyed by the ministers of State has ceased until five years after they have held office. In other words, the prerogative of the prejudice no longer applies to it.
While waiting to know details of the pre-trial detention requirement, it is worth indicating that, on February 27, the prosecutor Geovana Mori advanced the charges in the provision by which she formalized and decided to continue the preparatory investigation against Nadine Heredia, Eleodoro Mayorga, the former Minister of Economy Luis Miguel Castilla, among others. Trade agreed to said document.
Here are some points to understand the reason for the investigation against Eleodoro Mayorga and remember his time in the ministry.
Your role around the project
In his capacity as Minister of Energy and Mines, Mayorga was a member of the board of directors of Pro Inversión during the time that the concession process for the South Peruvian Gas Pipeline was carried out.
Pro Inversión is a public body attached to the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) that among its functions is to promote the incorporation of private investment in public services and public infrastructure works, as well as state assets, projects and companies. Its maximum instance is the board of directors.
The prosecution includes him as one of the participants in non-face-to-face sessions of the board of directors, which would have been intended to favor the consortium headed by Odebrecht. In one of them it was agreed to approve substantial modifications to the contest rules.
Regarding this situation considered irregular, the Public Ministry refers that collaborator 003-2019 has indicated that the non-face-to-face sessions tried to give the appearance of legality when in reality the decisions taken had not been deliberated or debated, and there had been no vote .
This is related to a statement by Jorge Barata, former Odebrecht superintendent in Peru, who stated: “… We have had meetings with the ministers responsible at the time for the conduct of the process, such as Mr. [Jorge] Merino Tafur [antecesor de Mayorga en el Minem], Eleodoro Mayorga, with Mrs. Nadine Heredia herself […] In those it was about listing the difficulties that we had in the conduction of each one of the projects and especially in the southern Peruvian gas pipeline ”.
The “special interest”
For the prosecution, Mayorga had a “special interest” in the project. It is responsible for not having carried out any action in relation to the concession of the Gasoducto Sur Andino in the event of non-compliance with the contractual obligations of the company Kuntur. “It recently adopted decisions on this concession when the consortium made up of the Odebrecht company was awarded the bid for the Gasoducto Sur Peruano project,” states the tax document.
The context is as follows. The initiative to transport gas from Cusco to Ilo had as its starting point the request of the company Latin Energy Global SAC, in March 2008 (second government of Alan García), to be granted the concession of the Gasoducto Sur Andino project (or Kuntur). Subsequently, it signed an investment contract with the State for US $ 1,330’112,124. On April 1, 2011, Latin Energy Global S.A.C. it passes into the hands of Odebrecht and changes its name to Kuntur Transportadora de Gas. The Brazilian construction company acquired 51% of the other company’s shares.
However, the concession contract for the Gasoducto Sur Andino was the subject of requests for modification and, finally, it was not executed and was terminated by Humala’s management. The prosecution sees an irregularity in the term of the contract and attributes responsibility to Mayorga, recalling a previous employment relationship between him and Odebrecht, as detailed below.
Another aspect that the prosecution points out is that in May 2014 the president of the Committee for Pro Energy Security —in charge of choosing the winning bidder of the contest— was replaced by an address from Nadine Heredia, the Executive appointing a friend of Mayorga who had worked previously in the Kuntur business group and in Odebrecht.
Beyond a “circle of trust”
According to the prosecution, Mayorga was part of the “circle of trust of the presidential couple”, who would have led an alleged criminal organization that between 2011 and 2015 sought to favor Odebrecht around the gas pipeline project.
Humala and Heredia, according to the investigation, “appointed people they trust in key positions and in a timely manner, in order to carry out what is necessary to comply with the organization’s criminal plan,”
Thus, Mayorga is located in the second of three levels of the union organization established by the prosecution, corresponding to “trusted persons designated by the presidential couple in strategic positions within the Pro Inversión Board of Directors, from which they also exercised the power to decision, having direct interference in the contracting processes in charge of said organism, in charge of promoting private investment of business groups ”.
The crimes charged
To the former minister Eleodoro Mayorga They impute him the presumed crime of illicit association to commit a crime. This is because within the syndicated criminal organization led by Humala and Heredia “it would have had the role or function to be in charge of the Ministry of Energy and Mines and to form part of the Pro Inversión Board of Directors, from which it must promote favorable conditions in order to that certain contracting processes of said organism are developed in accordance with the achievement of the objectives of the organization ”.
He is also charged with aggravated collusion, for allegedly directing his conduct as a minister to the detriment of the State’s assets in accordance with what was “unlawfully agreed by the presidential couple —Ollanta Humala and Nadine Heredia— and representatives of the Odebrecht business group.”
In the document that formalizes the preparatory investigation, prosecutor Mori recalls that before he was minister, Eleodoro Mayorga “He was linked to the Gasoducto Andino del Sur project by the company Kuntur (Odebrecht), this in his capacity as a partner of the consulting firm Laub & Quijandría Abogados, which provided professional services to that company.”
In his statement of February 26, 2018 to the prosecution, Mayorga acknowledged that he had a “minimum participation of five percent” and that the company required advice on regulatory issues, rates and demand, carrying out consulting work in 2012.
Also before being appointed minister, Mayorga carried out advisory work for the Braskem company, whose majority shareholder was Odebrecht. “Yes, my work consisted of providing them with information on the market for petrochemical products in Peru. I did this work until 2013, ”he replied in a statement to the prosecution. That is why this concludes some particular irregular motivation of the former minister in relation to the project and the alleged favor to the Brazilian construction company.
In an interview with El Comercio in February 2014, Mayorga explained that the consulting contract with Kuntur ended in 2014, before becoming minister, so he asserted that “it is something old that has no relevance.”
At the time, he rejected that his employment relationship is related to an interest in favoring Odebrecht with the gas pipeline. “The truth that worries why they want to seek to generate noise and not let one work,” he also said.
Interpellated, but not censored
In April 2014, it was learned that, during his tenure, Mayorga extended the Interoil company’s operations contract for one year, despite the fact that it lost international arbitration before the State. The study in which the engineer had worked before his appointment defended and advised the aforementioned Norwegian company, which exploited oil lots 3 and 4 in Talara thanks to a 20-year concession granted in 1993.
“The accusation of a conflict of interest against me has no basis. The management of Perúpetro had decided to extend the Interoil contract with a temporary one-year license […] before I took over the Ministry of Energy and Mines, “he said in a letter he sent to the” Cuarto Poder “program.
Likewise, in statements to Canal N, the then official assured that President Ollanta Humala not only knew of his link with the consulting firm Laub & Quijandría Abogados, but also had information on his career and professional ties before appointing him in the MEM.
However, the fact caused Mayorga to be questioned in two plenary sessions of Congress, on September 12 — it was suspended for lack of a quorum — and on September 22.
“I am not a lawyer nor have I advocated for anyone. I have documented my ideas with books and publications and presentations in academic forums, my performance has been transparent and consistent with my ideas, “said the then minister during his speech.
Before the first interpellation session, Humala defended the Cabinet member. “In six months of management, he has managed to unlock, advance and consolidate energy-level projects for between 16 and 17 billion dollars. Those decisions he has made have made some happy and others made them sad. […] The last thing they can accuse the minister of is lobbies in favor of private interests, ”said the then president.
Subsequently, the parliamentary opposition presented a motion of censure against Eleodoro Mayorga considering that their responses were not satisfactory. But the procedure did not prosper because there were only 38 votes in favor and 66 were needed.
This newspaper tried to contact Mayorga to have his comments on the request for preventive detention, but did not answer calls or messages.
On the last Tuesday, however, in a brief telephone communication, regarding the arguments of the formalization of the investigation, he claimed to be innocent and remarked that “it is the opinion of the prosecutor.”
“That is the prosecutor’s thesis. I think we have to wait for the investigation to advance and see if there is indeed the evidence and all the conditions for this to progress. The truth is that we are in a very early environment, ”he said.
Although he excused himself from giving further statements that time, he considered: “This is just beginning.”
It is certainly a difficult start for him. As for the end, this time, it will not depend on votes, but on fiscal arguments and analysis and judicial decisions.
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