Mario Anguiano Moreno is the latest in a growing list of former state governors to face investigation and potential penalties for corruption while holding public office.
Anguiano, who governed the small Pacific coast state of Colima from 2009 to 2015, is accused of diverting more than 1.8 billion pesos (US $94 million) during the second half of his six-year term.
But the state Congress says he didn’t act alone. On Tuesday, it proposed imposing fines totaling more than 170 million pesos not just against the ex-leader but 13 other officials who served in his government.
The allegations are based on a review of the administration’s public accounts for 2013, 2014 and up to August 31, 2015, that was carried out by the state auditor’s office.
If found guilty, Anguiano could face two fines totaling more than 45 million pesos (US $2.35 million) as well as two disqualifications from holding public office, one for nine years and the other for 14.
Among the accusations against the former Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) governor is that he failed to declare a donation from the state oil company to the state government.
Pemex donated 3,400 tonnes of asphalt, 130,200 liters of gasoline and 118,000 liters of diesel in 2014 after Anguiano had made two requests to then Pemex CEO Emilio Lozoya, who is also embroiled in corruption allegations.
The first came in December 2013 when he asked Pemex for aid to assist in the clean-up and rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Manuel while the second was made in October 2014 for road maintenance.
The newspaper El Universal reported in December 2016 that Anguiano presumably failed to report the donations to avoid naming the companies that took possession of the fuel.
The Colima Congress proposed a 38.5-million-peso fine and the lengthier of the two disqualification periods for the alleged infraction.
The other proposed fine of almost 6.6 million pesos relates to an auditor’s office report that Anguiano failed to oversee the verification of expenditures from a revolving fund assigned to two high-level officials in his administration. The proposed nine-year disqualification relates to the embezzlement of more than 1.8 billion pesos, allegedly diverted from the state government’s payroll budget.
All of the officials implicated in the alleged corruption will be required to appear before the state Congress Commission of Responsibilities and if the accusations are proven, the cases will be referred to the state’s legal system.
The coordinator of the state’s National Action Party (PAN) deputies said the penalties proposed by Congress are a clear indication of an intention to protect Anguiano, whose successor, José Ignacio Peralta, also represents the PRI.
“They’re going to laugh about us; they divert almost 2 billion pesos and we’re only asking him to repay 45 [million] and that they disqualify him for a few years. He should have to go to prison . . .” Luis Ladino said.
Anguiano joins a long list of former governors who have been accused of corruption including Javier Duarte of Veracruz, Roberto Borge of Quintana Roo, Cesar Duarte of Chihuahua and Roberto Sandoval of Nayarit.
Source: El Universal (sp)