The Ministry of Public Administration (SFP) has barred a company owned by the son of Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) chief Manuel Bartlett from receiving public contracts for a year and nine months after it presented false information in a contract it signed with the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS).
The SFP also fined Cyber Robotics Solutions, owned by León Manuel Bartlett Álvarez, 887,000 pesos (US $40,600).
According to a report by the newspaper El Universal, Cyber Robotics provided false information about its compliance with employer obligations in a contract it signed with IMSS in October 2019 to supply medical equipment for the La Raza National Medical Center in Mexico City.
The SFP already sanctioned Bartlett Álvarez’s company earlier this year for selling defective and over-priced coronavirus ventilators to IMSS in Hidalgo. It imposed a 27-month ban on awarding government contracts to Cyber Robotics and fined the company more than 2 million pesos (US $91,500).
However, the company challenged the sanctions and obtained a provisional suspension against them from a federal administrative court.
It was reported in May that Bartlett Álvarez’s company has been awarded at least seven contracts worth 162 million pesos (US $7.4 million) by the current government.
Writing in the Washington Post, prominent Mexican journalist Carlos Loret de Mola, an outspoken critic of the federal government, said the fact that several contracts were awarded to the son of a high-ranking public official calls into question the government’s stated commitment to fight corruption.
“Although nothing illegal has yet been proven in Bartlett’s son’s contracts with the federal government, the amounts raise suspicions,” Loret de Mola wrote on May 3.
Bartlett Álvarez promptly responded that he had received no help from his father in winning the contracts.
“I am 43 years old, I have been working since before I was 20 years old, always independent of my father. My father has never helped me, you can ask anyone you like. I have never received any favors because of him,” he said.
Whether nepotism was a factor in his company receiving lucrative contracts remains debatable but the SFP’s findings, and the resultant sanctions it imposed, suggest that there is less doubt about Cyber Robotics Solutions’ apparently unscrupulous business practices.
Source: El Universal (sp)