One of Coahuila's new armored SUVs. One of Coahuila's new armored SUVs.

Coahuila spent 25 million pesos on 8 bullet-proof vehicles

They were bought for officials with security tasks, among whom was the finance secretary

The Coahuila government spent more than 25 million pesos (US $1.3 million) to buy eight armored vehicles during its first six months in office, public records show.

According to the state government’s transparency website, the Miguel Riquelme-led Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) administration purchased four bulletproof SUVs from two separate companies between January and May this year.

Each vehicle cost an average of 3.2 million pesos (US $168,000).

The newspaper El Universal reported today that the office of the governor purchased three of the armored vehicles, the state’s Interior Secretariat purchased two and the Attorney General’s office, Secretariat of Public Security and Secretariat of Finance bought one each.

El Universal requested details about the purchase contracts but the government’s transparency unit refused to supply the information on the grounds that the vehicles were bought for use by “first-level officials in charge of public security tasks.”

However, the newspaper pointed out that the secretary of finance — who heads the department that took delivery of the most expensive of the eight vehicles — is not responsible for any public security duties.

Public records also show that the amount spent on the armored vehicles is greater than the government funding allocated to a range of different areas during all of 2017.

Last year, the Coahuila government spent 13.7 million pesos on science and technology, 10.2 million pesos on transportation, 17.4 million pesos to pay off debt and 17.5 million pesos for security materials and supplies.

Nevertheless, a citizen councilor for the state’s anti-corruption system said the amount spent on armored SUVs is not high for a state such as Coahuila, although he added that the government should still publicly explain the expense.

“I don’t think it’s wrong. I don’t know . . . who is using them but I believe that given the conditions in the country, they are required,” Adolfo Von Bertrab Saracho said.

“We’re coming out of a violent electoral process . . . I’m of the opinion that all the precautions that can be taken are valid. It has to be justified but for such a big state, caught up in a national problem and being on the [United States] border, it’s not over the top.”

Source: El Universal (sp)

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