Wednesday, November 29, 2023

3 civil servants suspended after demanding bribe for payment of flood aid

Three civil servants in Tabasco have been suspended after a video came to light showing them not-too-subtly demanding a bribe from a flood victim in exchange for processing her request for aid.

The federal government’s Welfare Ministry said it had identified and suspended three of the employees involved after it learned of the video via social media. Spokesperson Fernando Vázquez said the agency was investigating the incident and emphasized that 90% of the 200,000 people in Tabasco documented as affected by flooding have received recovery aid “in an honest and direct manner.”

The video shows a Ministry of Welfare employee in Teapa soliciting the bribe while other employees look on. In the video, the official says the victim can receive aid, but that she also had to support “the [civil] servants.”

The victim had approached the agency Monday to find out why the 10,000 pesos she had been promised was not delivered. She told local media that she had recorded the conversation with her phone after hearing from other residents who had received aid that one had to negotiate with the employees at the office to receive payment. Her mother surreptitiously recorded the video, she said.

The victim said she was first told that she had not been paid because the agency had received reports that no one lived in her community, despite the victim recognizing one of the employees in the office as her neighbor.

The civil servant then told the victim she could receive the aid promised but that she needed to pay 5,000 pesos, half the amount the woman was slated to receive.

“Yes, you can receive aid, but we also want you to help us,” the woman says on the video, “so that the civil servants receive the same support.”

After revealing that she had recorded the conversation, she was told that that no one had agreed to being recorded. Ultimately, her aid application was rejected on the grounds that she was already receiving aid from another program, a claim she refuted.

Source: Telereportaje (sp)

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