Alejandro Vera: irregularities in handling of contracts. Alejandro Vera: irregularities in handling of contracts.

Criminal complaints filed over spending

Universities are there to teach not outsource contracts, says auditor of Morelos case

The Federal Auditor’s Office (ASF) has filed four criminal complaints against the Autonomous University of the State of Morelos (UAEM) for irregularities in the spending of nearly 700 million pesos (US $38.4 million).

According to the auditor’s investigation, the Social Development Secretariat of the state of Morelos hired UAEM to perform counseling, polling, analysis and informatics services.

But the state university was incapable of fulfilling the contracted services so it opted instead to outsource them. The ASF found that the companies hired “lacked the profile and technical, material and human competence” to performed the required duties.

The university was also at fault for outsourcing all the services requested by the government, as state law establishes a 49% limit for all outsourced contracts, explained auditor Juan Manuel Portal.

“Universities are there to teach and do research, not to be outsourcing anything . . . Even after performing our investigation we aren’t sure that any of those companies hired even exist,” said Portal.

The ASF said the state signed four contracts — amounting to nearly 700 million pesos — with the university, which kept a percentage of the value of each one.

The auditor’s investigation found that UAEM director Alejandro Vera has been fined since 2004 for irregularly signing outsourcing contracts.

Such practices, nonetheless, became systematic by 2013 and 2014, and the ASF found that several other state universities were culpable as well.

“There are several universities in other states that present the same irregularities in fund management and outsourcing contracts, like the State of México, against which we’ve also filed criminal complaints,” Portal said.

Coincidentally, the Morelos state Congress this week accused UAEM director Vera of misappropriating “millions” of pesos and of benefiting from a secret budgetary allocation of at least 10 million pesos (US $550,000).

Source: Milenio (sp)

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