Mexico’s State Auditor’s Office has found that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s decision to abandon a partially constructed airport is far more expensive than the government said. Was accused on Tuesday for.
The U-turn took place after the Audit & Supervisory Board’s office, ASF, emphasized various irregularities and miscalculations in major government projects. There is growing concern that Lopez Obrador may have pressured accounting auditors to withdraw their findings as part of a preliminary audit of government accounting in 2019.
According to the audit, ASF costs more than 331 billion pesos ($ 17.6 billion) to dispose of Mexico City Airport designed by Norman Foster. Lopez Obrador said it would cost 100 billion pesos.
On Monday, the president unfolded one of his favorite taglines, “I have other data,” whenever there was a problem with official numbers or unfavorable predictions. audit, Released on the weekend.
He described it as an exaggeration and “I hope [the ASF] Clarify. “ He did not provide alternative data.
Within a few hours, ASF Make a statement He said there was a “contradiction” in some of the audits related to the 2018 Lopez Obrador airport cancellation. The numbers have been “thoroughly revised,” he said.
In that statement, ASF did not provide a modified calculation of the cost of canceling the project. Stirred investor anxiety at the time.
ASF has attributed the swirl to “methodological flaws.” It is not mentioned whether the other findings contained in the report are retroactive.
“This is unprecedented,” said Max Keizer, head of the Anti-Corruption Commission of the Employers’ Federation Copalmex and former government auditor.
Lopez Obrador, who has largely centralized the government, is already targeting other independent institutions and threatening to abandon what it considers too costly. Analysts say there is a risk of dangerous erosion of Mexico’s most powerful presidential check and balance of his generation.
Kaiser said the decline in ASF showed that the president did not even have to abandon the opposition institutions, but instead could “disable” them by questioning their credibility. ..
“Fear is that [state statistics office] Inegi or Banxico [the central bank] One of the former senior officials of the Lopez Obrador administration said he urged him not to name him.
It was not possible to contact ASF immediately for comment on the reversal.
“There was no pressure, only the president’s declaration,” said Yes Ramirez, a spokesman for Lopez Obrador. “There was a serious error in the calculation of the cost of cancellation announced by ASF … At least 75 percent of the amount reported by ASF is incorrect.” He did not provide supporting data, but finance The ministry said it would provide details later.
In the audit, ASF also pointed out other misconduct regarding the president’s pet project. This includes an apprenticeship system that appears to have subsidized the dead and a microloan program that said it was well below the number of beneficiaries reported by the government. We also asked about payments for flagship trains and refinery projects.
“It’s scandalous that ASF has documented and published the millions of dollars of fraud detected in state accounting in 2019.” Tweeted Julieta Macías Rábago, Movimiento Ciudadano, opposition vice-member of the party. “You have to say it as it is. There can be no other data. This is the data.”
Valeria Moy, head of IMCO, a think tank, urged ASF to clarify the details of the miscalculation. “Where was the error, or more than an error?” Was it pressure?? She tweeted.
Mexico’s Treasury Minister Arturo Elera Posted video On Tuesday night’s Twitter, the government said it was “extremely surprised” by some of the “basic” and “elemental” errors in the hard-to-understand ASF calculations coming from such experienced institutions. It was.
“Is there a basic preparation issue from the person who created it, or frankly, it’s a malicious issue on the part of the person who released this report,” he said.
According to Herrera, the ASF calculation is based on some unrecoverable costs and additional costs such as financial instruments and bonds, for a total of about 253 billion pesos. “These costs don’t exist,” he said. The Treasury said this was because the bonds had already been issued and were already part of government debt, confusing the auditor’s net and total operations, as well as the net present value of costs.
Backtrack of Mexican Comptroller on Auditing Abandoned Airport Projects
Source link Backtrack of Mexican Comptroller on Auditing Abandoned Airport Projects