Villegas and Yáñez: charged with embezzlement. Villegas and Yáñez: charged with embezzlement.

Corruption charges proceed against two

Officials in Duarte administration jailed for six months while investigation continues

Unraveling the network of corruption in the government of Chihuahua moved forward on the weekend with preventive custody orders against two officials in the administration of ex-governor César Duarte Jaquez.

The arrests last week of Gerardo Villegas, former director of administration at the Finance Secretariat, and Ricardo Yáñez Herrera, ex-chief of the state housing commission, were followed yesterday by preventive arrest orders for six months and the commencement of formal inquiries into their alleged embezzlement of 246 million pesos (US $14 million).

According to the state Attorney General’s case files, Villegas and Yáñez participated in the design and execution of the embezzlement scheme by contracting training courses and workshops for parents and teachers and purchasing software.

In February 2016, Yáñez requested funds for three courses: 55 million pesos for teacher training, 46 million for an ecology course and 55 million for a parent training course. He also requested 90 million pesos to design and purchase personnel management software.

That same month, Villegas approved the four contracts, which were signed shortly after and the payments completed on on April 6.

The contracts were never fulfilled and the services and products were never delivered.

The Attorney General’s office has determined that the embezzlement scheme was carried out by a “variety of individuals who through an existing agreement divided functions among themselves . . . Yáñez and Villegas are only two of them.”

Their former boss has fled to the United States, according to the new state government, which wants César Duarte extradited.

Source: La Opción (sp), Milenio (sp)

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