The Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF) has identified questionable spending of 599 million pesos (US $31.4 million) and deficiencies in the construction of the Cuernavaca Paso Express, the second time a federal audit has found irregularities in the 14.5-kilometer stretch of highway.
The most recent investigation has found that the federal Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) has failed to justify the expenditure of 108.6 million pesos (US $5.8 million). The ASF has also questioned another 491.6 million pesos in spending on the project.
The audit examined only the expenditures incurred in 2016, a total of 772.4 million pesos. Cost of the entire project was over 2 billion pesos, double the original estimate.
The probe also found deficiencies in construction, particularly at the location of a five-meter-deep sinkhole that appeared in July, just three months after the highway opened, and killed a father and his son.
The deficiencies included poor quality asphalt paving and a failure to meet required standards.
The audit also examined contracts the SCT signed with three firms: the Aldesem-Eppcor consortium, the principal contractor; Sacc Engineering, which coordinated the project; and Desarrollo de Ingeniería Civil y Tecnología, responsible for supervision.
It found irregularities in payments totaling more than 585 million pesos, including 186 million pesos in inflated expenditures and evidence of materials that were purchased but never used on the project. Payments were also made for work that was not done.
The ASF said “. . . in general terms the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, through its Morelos office, failed to comply with applicable laws and regulations . . . .”