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One of many schools that sustained earthquake damage in 2017. One of many schools that sustained earthquake damage in 2017.

Subcontractors victims of quake reconstruction fraud in Oaxaca

Subcontractors haven't been paid since November and the principal contractor has disappeared

A México state construction company will be investigated for fraud after allegedly failing to pay 20 subcontractors for reconstruction work on earthquake-damaged schools in Oaxaca.

The Oaxaca attorney general’s office said that Grupo Salcedo was paid about 79 million pesos (US $4 million) to carry out repairs at schools in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, which bore the brunt of the devastating 8.2-magnitude earthquake on September 7, 2017.

The subcontractors claim that everything was going well until November last year when Grupo Salcedo stopped paying them even though the work they were doing was between 70% and 90% complete.

“. . . We put our capital [into the projects] in order to deliver the work and to carry out our duty to the children of Oaxaca and now this company . . . that arrived on the isthmus and contracted us is refusing to pay us. It left and we don’t know anything,” said Carlos Vásquez Rasgado, an architect and builder in Juchitán.

According to the subcontractors, Grupo Salcedo promised to pay all outstanding debts by March 6.

The affected parties now claim that the Oaxaca Institute for Educational Infrastructure Construction (Iocifed) has contracted outside companies to complete the work but vow they won’t allow that to happen.

The subcontractors said they are prepared to blockade schools and highways in order to stop other companies from continuing the work they started.

Source: Milenio (sp), La Jornada (sp) 

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