Monday, June 24, 2024

Coahuila auditor files embezzlement complaints over 639 million pesos

During four months ending last April, the Coahuila Auditor’s Office (ASEC) filed 13 criminal complaints against a state government department and several municipalities for the embezzlement of almost 640 million pesos.

The agency said in a first-semester 2018 report that the complaints were made to the Coahuila Attorney General’s office between December 28, 2017 and April 26 of this year.

The ASEC alleges that a total of just over 636.6 million pesos (US $33.9 million) in public funds were misappropriated.

The state Secretariat of Finance was the biggest offender with more than 465.2 million pesos missing from its public accounts records for 2013, according to an ASEC complaint filed in January.

Chief auditor Armando Plata said the money was siphoned through shell companies and that additional funds disappeared from the same secretariat in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The municipal governments of Acuña, Frontera, Jiménez, Sabinas and San Pedro are also accused of illicitly diverting funds ranging from 1.5 million pesos to 23.5 million pesos in 2014. The ASEC also detected irregularities in the 2015 accounts of the same five municipalities.

The amounts allegedly embezzled increased that year to between 11.6 million pesos and 31.1 million pesos. For the second year in a row, the municipality of Sabinas was the worst offender.

After receiving a special request from the state Congress, the ASEC also investigated the Sabinas municipal government’s accounts for 2016 and 2017, finding more irregularities that resulted in two more criminal complaints being filed in April.

Former Sabinas mayor Lenin Flores Lucio, two former officials and a government contractor have all been ordered to stand trial on charges of embezzlement.

At the time the embezzlement allegedly occurred, Rubén Moreira Valdés was governor.

Now a federal congressman with the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), he has been accused of receiving large cash payments from the Los Zetas drug cartel while in office in Coahuila.

According to a binational report released last November, Moreira and his brother and former governor Humberto Moreira Valdés effectively ceded control of the northern border state to the notorious criminal organization in exchange for the bribes they received.

Source: El Universal (sp) 

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