Ecuador VP resigns over kickbacks allegation

Ms Maria Alejandra Vicuna announced her resignation on Twitter, saying the South American country did not deserve the "instability" caused by the crisis.
Ms Maria Alejandra Vicuna announced her resignation on Twitter, saying the South American country did not deserve the "instability" caused by the crisis.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

QUITO (AFP) - Ecuador's vice-president resigned on Tuesday (Dec 4) over allegations by a former aide that she took kickbacks while serving as a lawmaker five years ago.

Ms Maria Alejandra Vicuna announced her resignation on Twitter, saying the South American country did not deserve the "instability" caused by the crisis.

It came a day after President Lenin Moreno distanced himself, suspending her from the post to allow her time to fight the allegations.

In Ecuador, the vice-president can only be sacked through an impeachment process in the national assembly, which last week called on her to resign.

Ms Vicuna has been in the post for just over a year. She replaced Mr Moreno's running mate, Jorge Glas, convicted and jailed for six years over his involvement in the massive Odebrecht bribes scandal.

The allegations against Ms Vicuna come from a former aide, Mr Angel Sagbay, who said last week that while working as Ms Vicuna's adviser in 2012 and 2013, he regularly banked deposits - totalling around US$20,000 (S$27,306) - in Ms Vicuna's account that he claims were kickbacks.

Prosecutors are investigating the corruption allegations and Ms Vicuna said she was confident she will be cleared by the courts.