The chancellor of a public university in Hidalgo has been removed from office for his alleged involvement in the embezzlement of more than 185 million pesos (US $9.8 million at today’s exchange rate).
Juan de Dios Nochebuena was the head of the Francisco I. Madero Polytechnic University in Tepatepec in 2016 when, according to the Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF), it signed a contract with the Secretariat of Agrarian Development and Urban Planning (Sedatu) for services it didn’t provide.
The contract was designed to hide a money diversion scheme, the ASF charges. The final destination of the money is unclear.
The case has similarities to the so-called “master fraud” in which 11 federal agencies were found to have diverted over 3.4 billion pesos (US $180 million) through payments to shell companies that were siphoned through eight public universities.
In those cases, the universities were also allegedly contracted for services that they didn’t provide.
Another higher education institute in Hidalgo, the Tulancingo Technological University, is also facing embezzlement accusations.
The head of the Hidalgo Auditor’s Office, Arturo Roldán Pimentel, said yesterday that it had detected that the university had received over 93.5 million pesos (US $4.9 million) from the State Workers’ Social Security Institute (ISSTE).
Again, there is no evidence that the university provided any services to the federal agency.
Roldán said the chancellor of the Tulancingo university, Julio Márquez Rodríguez, has 10 business days to respond to the findings or he will also be dismissed.
But Hidalgo Governor Omar Fayad Meneses subsequently announced that Márquez would also be removed while the investigation continues.
He added that his government would fully cooperate with the ASF and if it ultimately determines that the two chancellors didn’t commit any wrongdoing, they could be reinstated to their positions.
However, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governor stressed that his administration would not allow impunity in cases where it is established that crimes were committed.
Source: El Universal (sp)