Ghost companies, odd contracts and 645 million pesos missing

5/25/2016 El Daily Post

DuarteDuring at least two years, top Veracruz state officials close to Gov. Javier Duarte awarded government contracts to a closed network of 21 companies whose very existence is doubtful. The secretariats that approved the contracts can’t confirm that anybody ever received the products. What’s known for sure is that the 645 million pesos that the 73 contracts cost the state treasury are gone.

The procedure is simple: At the very beginning of a gubernatorial term, PRI supporters are selected and asked to give their signature without being told why. Those signatures are used to create new companies. The companies, in turn, are assigned false business addresses that are never reviewed by any authority.

Once created, the companies are registered as government suppliers, able to sell anything from diapers to cement. A handful of authorities close to the governor make sure those companies are granted contracts, either through direct awards or closed tenders.

The purchase of products resulting from these contracts is faked. The products are supposedly meant to be distributed in poor areas, but they never arrive. After receiving the money, the company closes.

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