Quito: Ecuadorian President Guillermo Lasso will appear before the National Assembly to defend himself in an impeachment trial for alleged embezzlement, Government Minister Henry Cucalon announced.
“The head of state will go to the National Assembly to defend his position and prove the truth,” Xinhua news agency quoted Cucalon as saying to the local media on Wednesday.
“The President has not committed embezzlement. So far, they have not been able to prove it because the evidence does not exist,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Assembly voted to hold the trial following opposition charges that Lasso embezzled public funds from a public-private sector contract for transporting crude oil.
Lasso, who will complete two years in office in two weeks, could be ousted with the votes of two-thirds of the 137-member National Assembly, or 92 lawmakers.
According to the opposition parties, Lasso was accused of ignoring alleged embezzlement in relation to a contract between state-owned company Flota Petrolera Ecuatoriana and the private company Amazonas Tanker, resulting in a loss for the state.
The President has denied the accusations, saying that his government had made profitable changes to the deal, which was signed long before he took office.
This marks the first time in 44 years that an Ecuadorian President has faced a possible impeachment by the National Assembly.