Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Head of Veracruz anti-corruption council accused — of corruption

After resisting calls for his resignation throughout his entire one-year term, the head of a Veracruz anti-corruption council left office on Thursday after completing his mandate — and triggering several corruption investigations against himself.

Sergio Vázquez Jiménez had served as head of the Citizen Participation Council (CPC) of the state Anti-corruption System (SAE) but is now facing investigations for irregularities during his term.

He is also accused of using an accounting firm he owns to obtain phony government contracts during the administrations of former governors Miguel Ángel Yunes Linares, Flavino Ríos Alvarado and Javier Duarte. The latter is currently serving a nine-year prison term for corruption.

The accounting firm allegedly received directly awarded contracts to audit several government agencies, including the Xalapa water commission. According to an accusation by Xalapa Mayor Hipólito Rodríguez Herrero, the city paid 935,000 pesos to the firm in 2017 for auditing services that were never carried out.

The firm also used false addresses for its offices on official government documents, according to an investigation by the digital publication La Silla Rota. The addresses were registered by the notary Dulce María Ríos Guerrero, daughter of former interim governor Flavino Ríos. The use of false addresses is similar to schemes used by Javier Duarte to misdirect public funds.

The corruption accusations had been following Vázquez since he began his one-year term. In July 2018, he rejected calls for his resignation and insisted that his firm had received the contracts legally, and had carried out the audits.

Vázquez was replaced by Emilio Cárdenas Escobosa, who said he hopes to turn the SAE into an agency that will prevent the acts of corruption that characterized the last three administrations in Veracruz.

Source: e-consulta (sp), La Silla Rota (sp) El Universal (sp), Diario de Xalapa (sp)

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