Saturday, December 2, 2023

Following change of government, accusations of corruption in Yucatán

The Yucatán government will file 26 complaints against the administration that preceded it, alleging that both resources and movable property are missing from several state secretariats.

State comptroller Lízbeth Basto told a press conference yesterday that six complaints correspond to 533 million pesos (US $27.7 million) that disappeared from the coffers of the Secretariats of Health, Education and Administration and Finance during the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governorship of Rolando Zapata Bello, who left office on September 30.

The other 20 complaints relate to missing property, such as computers and medical equipment, and administrative discrepancies detected during a review conducted by the new National Action Party (PAN) government led by Mauricio Vila.

They involve the three aforementioned secretariats as well as those of Urban Development and the Environment, Tourism Promotion and General Government, Basto said.

The government will file the complaints with the relevant auditor’s offices on January 14.

The new government also detected irregularities in a range of other government agencies including the state’s Social Security Institute (Isstey) and the Institute of Sport (Idey).

The complaints to be filed on Monday represent only one portion of government funds that were allegedly embezzled during Zapata’s governorship.

During its final three years in office, the previous administration allegedly diverted around 900 million pesos (US $46.8 million) to ghost and shell companies that were supposedly contracted to provide services to government agencies.

Many of the companies that benefited from the suspected embezzlement scheme were created in the first years of Zapata’s six-year term, which began in October 2012. Some share the same fiscal domicile.

Former Yucatán governor Patricio Patrón Laviada, who governed for the PAN between 2001 and 2007, filed a complaint about the alleged scheme in June last year, describing it as “the Yucatecan version of the master fraud,” in which 11 federal agencies were found to have diverted over 3.4 billion pesos (US $176.8 million at today’s exchange rate) during the government of past-president Enrique Peña Nieto.

The scheme in Yucatán was allegedly controlled by two men who, according to sources who worked in the last government, were very close to ex-governor Zapata.

Late last year, the ex-governor was seen shopping with his family at a Gucci store on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Source: Diario de Yucatán (sp) 

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