Thursday, December 7, 2023

Pemex workers file corruption charges against union officials

A group of current and former state oil company workers in Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche, have filed a complaint against their local union leader and a former secretary general of the Pemex workers union for illicit enrichment and the sale of positions within the firm.

The newspaper Reforma reported Thursday that workers affiliated with section 47 of the union filed a complaint on December 30 with the federal Attorney General’s Office (FGR) against local leader Víctor Kidnie and ex-secretary general Carlos Romero Deschamps, who resigned in October 2019 after 26 years in the job.

They accuse the two men of embezzlement of union funds, extortion, making threats, selling Pemex positions over a period of 30 years and physical violence.

The disgruntled workers, some of whom have more than 30 years’ experience at the state-owned firm, also said that their salaries had been arbitrarily docked by the union leaders.

Kidnie and Romero enriched themselves at the expense of the petroleum workers they represent, they said in the complaint filed with the FGR.

One of the complainants, an oil platform electrical technician who is no longer employed at Pemex, said he began speaking out about union corruption in 2015 and two years later was physically assaulted by people close to Kidnie. He said he reported the assault to the FGR, the National Human Rights Commission and the Campeche Attorney General’s Office but they ignored him.

The former worker also said that he witnessed the section 47 union leader selling positions to four people in Paraíso, Tabasco, who went on the payroll but never actually worked for Pemex.

“That case was also taken to the FGR but nothing was done. It’s part of the … corruption in section 47,” he said.

Having a complaint filed against him is nothing new for Romero, who also represented the Institutional Revolutionary Party in both house of Congress and was named by Forbes magazine in 2013 as one of the 10 most corrupt politicians in Mexico.

Other Pemex workers and the government’s Financial Intelligence Unit have filed complaints against the 77-year-old former union chief for money laundering and illegal enrichment among other offenses, and the FGR launched an investigation into his alleged corruption in 2019.

Despite the allegations he faces, and having stepped down as union boss more than a year ago, Romero remains an active Pemex employee, the oil company told Reforma in response to a freedom of information request.

He is currently receiving a monthly salary of 41,203 pesos (US $2,090) but his responsibilities at the firm are unknown.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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