Thursday, December 7, 2023

National Defense paid twice for Oaxaca wind farm

The Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) was forced to pay twice for the construction of a wind farm on an air force base in Oaxaca after a contractor failed to deliver the project, financial records show.

The department contracted with Grupo Tradeco to build the project, whose purpose was to make the Ixtepec base in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region energy self-sufficient.

But Sedena cancelled the contract in 2015, arguing that Tradeco had presented fabricated details about the project’s progress.

“In December 2012 and January 2013, Tradeco presented six assessments about the work at the wind farm that contained false information as no progress had been made on the project,” Sedena said.

Late last month, Sedena sought to initiate legal action against Tradeco to secure 595 million pesos (US $30.9 million) in compensation for failing to comply with the contract it signed and a 374-million-peso (US $19.4-million) payment because no energy was produced at the base between March 2014, when the project was supposed to be completed, and June 2018.

“The company didn’t deliver the construction for which it was contracted despite the fact that two amending agreements were signed in order for it to comply with the work [it committed to],” the lawsuit states.

However, a judge from a civil district court where the suit was filed refused to admit it based on the argument that because the contract involved public resources, the case must be resolved by the Federal Administrative Justice Tribunal (TFJA).

Sedena is also seeking the return of an additional 495 million pesos (US $25.7 million) that it paid to the company in 2012 when the contract was signed.

Due to Tradeco’s failure to deliver, Sedena had to pay 221 million pesos (US $11.5 million) to other companies to finish the wind farm, the newspaper Reforma reported today.

When its contract with Sedena was cancelled in 2015, Tradeco initiated its own legal action and, according to legal counsel Rafael Macedo Núñez, the TFJA ruled in February that the decision to annul the contract was illegal and ordered the defense department to reinstate it.

If the contract is not reinstated, Macedo said, Tradeco could seek its own compensation from the federal government.

Sedena requested a review of the ruling before a collegiate tribunal and the case has not yet been resolved.

Macedo also said that the company had no knowledge of the lawsuit Sedena is seeking to file against it.

During 2011 and 2012 — the final two years of former president Felipe Calderón’s six-year administration — the federal government awarded six contracts worth a combined 6.9 billion pesos (US $360 million at today’s exchange rate) to Tradeco.

However, several were cancelled due to breaches committed by the financially embattled company, which previously also faced legal action from a Sedena contractor for failing to comply with another contract.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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