The amount was defined after a court ruling for improper charges, which were generated through an ordinance.
The Municipality of Tulcán owes $4,942,665 to the telephone company Conecel SA, legal representative of the Claro company.
This amount, however, not related to call consumption or any of the services provided by the company, but refers to the money that the municipality of Tulcan improperly charged Conecelin the year 2014when a municipal ordinance was issued setting fees to regulate the use of public space, as well as municipal airspace, soil and subsoil, for the placement of structures, poles and the laying of networks.
Through a statement, the Mayor’s Office of Tulcán reported that the amount owed began to be paid from January 2022in accordance with the judicial sentence issued in January 2018, by the District Court of Tax Litigation based in Guayaquil.
The total value, however, will be canceled throughout 36 monthsthrough monthly payments that border the $137,000which were authorized by the Municipal Council, on September 30, 2021, “without interest or fines being charged, since the year in which the Municipality of Tulcán improperly seized the money of the company Conecel SA, until today ”.
The lawsuit by Conecel against the Municipality of Tulcán reached the Constitutional Court in 2015.
The main challenge was against article 18 of the ordinance approved by the Municipal Council, where it was defined that natural persons, legal entities, national and foreign companies, all of them private, annually cancel new municipal taxes, generated by the installation of posts, laying networks and structures; in addition to setting the corresponding rates for the use or occupation of municipal airspace.
The rates, according to the regulations, were applied mainly to metal structures for commercial use, as antennas of all kinds, for radio, cell phones, television, but also to network lines, imposing a daily payment percentage for its installation in rural or urban areas of the canton.
For example, one of the sections imposed the 20% of the unified basic salary for antennas for cellular services, daily, stating that the payment should be for each of the antennas installed on top of the structures and that are part of the telecommunications networks, “for the concept of use of airspace”.
Among other items, it was requested that radio help and amateur radio antennas pay $0.10 cents per day and commercial ones $1.50while for the network laying that belong to private companies, they wanted to subject a daily rate of $0.01 cents for each linear meter.
After being served with the lawsuit, the then mayor of TulcánJulio Cesar Robles Guevaraas well as the municipal trustee attorney of the time, Luis Marcelo Portilla Revelo, They asked that the case be dismissed and argued that Conecel, “for more than six years, has been operating in Tulcán, without reporting any benefit to the cantonwithout paying taxes, rates or contributions for the use of land”.
But nevertheless, the Constitutional Court ruled against him and declared the ordinance unconstitutionalexposing, among one of the observations, that only the Central Government is responsible for charging for issues related to the communications and telecommunications spectrum, but not the municipal governments.
In addition, they mentioned that seven fixed rates within article 18 of the challenged ordinance, reached excessive values“significantly affecting the economy of private companies that, in an effort to provide the commercial service for which they were established, they see the need to make use of public space, activating the generating event of the rates regulated in the ordinance and, consequently, complying with the obligatory payment of said tax”.
after those responsible
From the Syndicate Attorney of the Municipality of Tulcán It has been stated that the lawsuit against Conecel, upon assuming the current municipal administration, I was already lostso they could not do more management to avoid it.
Given this, the only procedure they did, practically, was mediate with the legal representatives of the company, so that the payment of the almost $5 million is not immediate, as was requested in the first instance, but that it can be paid in three years, with monthly installments around $137,000fulfilling the first installment in January 2022.
“It is a concern that we have expressed from the first day that we assumed the municipal administration, since we have found these sentences already lost and what we have achieved is to reach payment agreements, so as not to fall into breachesas it has been doing since 2016,” said Nataly Polo, trustee of the Municipality of Tulcán, at the time.
In addition, they stated that once the payment has begun, they will initiate the corresponding procedures so that the responsible authorities are accountable for the destinations of these itemsas well as for the constant evasions to avoid disbursement of money.
“The accounts of the telephone company Conecel were seized in 2015, so they followed the judicial process so that the values can be restored, which now the Municipal GAD of Tulcán has to pay, “added Polo.
El presupuesto general del Municipio de Tulcán, anualmente, bordea los $31 millones.
Claro es la empresa que más antenas tiene a escala nacional. Hasta 2020 reportó 9.658 en todo el Ecuador, mientras que Movistar 5.054 y CNT 2.802.