Former Chihuahua governor Duarte. Ex-governor Duarte.

Duarte stole millions, according to witness

Former Chihuahua governor used phony invoices

Chihuahua ex-governor César Duarte diverted millions of pesos in state funds to his own pocket using phony invoices to justify the transactions to tax authorities, according to an anonymous witness who has given evidence to the state Attorney General.

Duarte has been declared a fugitive by his successor and is believed to be living in the United States.

The witness, who had his identity concealed and will receive a lesser penalty in exchange for testifying, said that Duarte’s family members and his inner circle managed the diversion of funds to Duarte from companies that were supposedly being paid for services rendered.

According to the witness’s statement, a copy of which was obtained by the Milenio newspaper, Duarte ordered a payment of 120 million pesos (US $6.3 million) to a private company, without tenders.

“During the months of March, April, May and June of 2015, four payments were made to the company Kepler Soluciones Integrales SC, totaling 120 million pesos. Obviously, without the existence of a tendering process,” the witness testified.

The money came from a government account in what the witness described as an “abbreviated” procedure that enabled the state’s expenditures and accounting office to make scheduled payments.

The witness named former director of administration at the Finance Secretariat, Gerardo Villegas, and substitute federal Deputy and former director of acquisitions, Antonio Tarín, as key players in the alleged embezzlement.

Both were recently arrested.

He also referred to Ricardo Yáñez, ex-chief of the state housing commission, who was also arrested in March, Adrián Dozal, former director of human resources at the state Attorney General’s office, and Ever Aguilar, a former administrative coordinator.

All maintained a “close relationship” with external operators, according to the testimony.

The witness pointed out that those implicated in the questionable transactions drew up false invoices so that “everything appeared correct” to the Federal Tax Administration (SAT).

He also alleges that companies received kickbacks for their collusion.

“It means that in some cases, like this one, invoices were issued. The company received its reward, allowing the payment made using public funds to return in cash.”

The witness also indicated that César Duarte made exclusive decisions on all tendering processes without any input from finance committees and they often occurred through companies that had been hastily established for the purpose.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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