The previous Michoacán government spent more than 1.2 billion pesos to rent six helicopters and a stealth aircraft, the state’s new security minister said Thursday.
José Alfredo Ortega Reyes, a senior member of the new Morena party government, told a press conference that the government led by former governor Silvano Aureoles signed a 1.23-billion-peso (US $59.2 million) contract with the company B3 Fly Services for the use of five Airbus helicopters, one AugustaWestland helicopter and a Stemme plane between January 2015 and August 2021.
The contract, signed by former security minister Antonio Bernal Bustamante, was plagued with irregularities, he said.
Ortega said that B3 Fly Services was registered as a company just two weeks before the contract was signed on December 17, 2015. In the 14 days between the registration of the company and the signing of the contract, the state government took the decision to award the contract directly to B3, he said.
The security minister said the contract required the company to forward a bond equivalent to 10% of its value to the state government in order to secure it. He questioned how a new company would be able to pay a bond in excess of 120 million pesos, asserting that it was implausible it would have access to that much money.
The minister also questioned the previous government’s commitment to cover the total cost of an aircraft in the event of theft, confiscation, expropriation, damage or total destruction.
Government Secretary Carlos Torres Piña told reporters that such a large outlay was unjustifiable, noting that the contract cost the previous government 18.24 million pesos (US $879,000) a month or almost 610,000 pesos (US $29,400) per day. The annual outlay was almost double the budget granted to small and medium-sized municipalities in Michoacán, he said.
Torres also said that some officials used the aircraft for personal and family matters.
“We want to tell you that we won’t repeat or allow this kind of excessive and unjustifiable spending. We’re not like them, we’re not here to throw money away or obtain luxuries and privileges,” he said.
With reports from El Universal