Mayors under the microscope. Mayors under the microscope.

Criminal complaints against 25 ex-mayors

Arrest warrants expected soon as Chiapas mayors probed for questionable spending

Authorities in the southern state of Chiapas have uncovered widespread evidence of suspected political corruption at the municipal level.

The State Auditor’s Office filed 25 criminal complaints this week against the same number of ex-mayors following the detection of a range of irregularities in their public accounts for the period 2013-2014.

Among the suspicious activity it discovered were incomplete public works, overpayments for projects, undelivered purchases, improper expenditure and failure to submit documentary proof of expenses.

The amount each mayor allegedly misused, embezzled or failed to properly account for ranges from 3.8 million pesos (US $204,000) to 210 million pesos (US $11.2 million).

Ten of the mayors represented the Ecologist Green Party of Mexico (PVEM), nine were members of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), four were from the Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) and the New Alliance Party and National Action Party (PAN) provided one mayor each.

All are now under investigation by the state Attorney General’s corruption fighting agency and authorities said that warrants for their arrest could be issued in the coming days.

Most of the mayors represented rural municipalities in the state.

Among the allegedly corrupt mayors is a current member of the state’s judicial council, a government body that is responsible for appointing judges and legal officials in Chiapas.

The 25 municipalities where the questionable use of public money occurred represent around 20%, or one in five, of all municipalities in the state.

According to data from the social development agency Coneval, around three-quarters of Chiapas residents live in moderate or extreme poverty, making it Mexico’s poorest state.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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