Lozada, left, and Pemex CEO Octavio Romero. Lozada, left, and Pemex CEO Octavio Romero.

Government orders dismissal of head of exploration at Pemex for corruption

Miguel Ángel Lozada was allegedly involved in 'Master Fraud' embezzlement scheme

The federal government has ordered the dismissal of the head of exploration and production at Pemex and disqualified him from holding any public position for 10 years for his alleged involvement in the embezzlement scheme known as the “Master Fraud.”

The Secretariat of Public Administration (SFP) said in a statement Wednesday that it filed complaints against Miguel Ángel Lozada Aguilar with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) in April after an investigation detected that he had likely engaged in criminal activity.

An FGR investigation found irregularities in Lozada’s financial circumstances. He omitted details from his declarations of assets for four consecutive years from 2014 to 2017.

The official’s failure to disclose two bank accounts and the financial benefits he obtained from the ownership of a property violated federal law, the SFP said. Lozada was unable to justify why he didn’t report the details, the statement said.

The SFP said the sanctions complied with a request from President López Obrador to remove officials from Pemex who were involved in the “Master Fraud,” a scheme in which 11 federal agencies diverted billions of pesos in government funds during the administration of former president Enrique Peña Nieto. The scheme employed phony contracts with public universities and shell companies.

The statement noted that López Obrador said in January that if any high-ranking Pemex officials appointed by his government are found to have been involved in the “Master Fraud,” they must be dismissed.

Lozada was notified of the sanctions against him on Wednesday and it will be up to Pemex to remove him from his role, the SFP said.

“. . . The Secretariat of Public Administration will supervise the effective application of the sanctions and be respectful of the decisions . . . taken by other authorities,” the statement said.

“Secretary Irma Eréndira Sandoval Ballesteros reconfirms her commitment to continue combatting corruption and impunity . . . within the framework of the new public ethics that guide the government of Mexico.”

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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