Ecuadorean IOP Fellow Accused of Corruption

When he led a study group at the Institute of Politics (IOP) this spring about the choices and decisions he made during his two-year tenure as president of Ecuador, administrators praised visiting fellow Jamil Mahuad as open and accessible to tough questions from students.

But some in Ecuador, where Mahud was ousted in a January 2000 military coup, believe the former president still has something to hide.

Ecuador's highest court issued warrants for the instructor's arrest last week, charging that he committed unconstitutional and possibly corrupt acts by freezing Ecuador's bank accounts during the recent Latin American financial crisis.

The head of Ecuador's Supreme Court ordered an investigation into charges that Mahuad's decisions, which he defended as necessary to stop capital from leaving the impoverished nation, were made to benefit bankers and contributors to his 1998 presidential campaign.

But Mahuad, who touted his Harvard degree in public administration during the campaign, remains in Cambridge despite calls for him to return to Ecuador to face charges.

Conflict and Crisis

Mahuad, the Heffernan Visiting Fellow, left Ecuador shortly after the coup and has been working at the Kennedy School since April. In the spring he led an IOP study group titled "Conflict, Crisis and Leadership in Latin America." He is working on his own projects in Cambridge over the summer, according to Jennifer Phillips, the coordinator of the visiting fellows program.

Phillips said Mahuad has been willing to address questions about his tenure as president from students in his study group, and would often meet with students in his office to discuss the class.