The former Health Secretary of the state of Oaxaca was arrested on the weekend in Jalisco for abuse of authority and the embezzlement of as much as 2 billion pesos (US $150 million).
The state Attorney General’s office acted upon at least 10 arrest warrants issued against Germán Tenorio Vasconcelos in coordination with the Jalisco public prosecutor’s office.
He was later transferred to the city of Oaxaca where he appeared before a judge and declared he was innocent of all charges.
Oaxaca Attorney General Rubén Vasconcelos Méndez told a press conference that pecuniary damage had been incurred by the state in the construction of clinics in highly marginalized communities during Tenorio’s term. The amount of the damage was not specified.
Documents had been falsified to indicate projects had been completed.
The newspaper El Universal said preliminary reports indicate that Tenorio could have embezzled up to 2 billion pesos. The exact details of the case against the former Health Secretary might not be public information, but there were many accusations made against him during his four a half-year term.
Named secretary at the beginning of ex-governor Gabino Cué Monteagudo’s term in December 2010, Tenorio served until June 2015.
At the beginning of his tenure Tenorio accused the previous administration of Ulises Ruiz Ortíz of embezzlement and of leaving over 100 unfinished medical facilities throughout the state.
Tenorio’s first problems as secretary included several cases of medical malpractice involving women giving birth, which earned several recommendations from the state human rights ombudsman.
But it wasn’t until his last few months in office that reports of questionable activities began to surface, including the purchase of a 3.5-million-peso aircraft that was not included in his declaration of assets.
The accusations of embezzlement and of including his daughter on the health services payroll were made last year after he was dismissed by Cué, when the state comptroller’s office ruled that Tenorio could not hold public office for 80 years.
A crisis in Oaxaca health services climaxed late last year after health care workers went on strike, affecting the operation of 600 health centers and 23 hospitals. Workers also set up roadblocks, blocked the entrances to hospitals and shut gas stations, accusing the state government of diverting resources and causing shortages of medicine.