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PROFECO corruption scandal erupts

Under Reserve features fact-checked news written by journalists and contributors to EL UNIVERSAL
PROFECO office - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
24/10/2017
10:00
Mexico City
OPINION: Under Reserve
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PROFECO corruption scandal erupts

Openly and proving names, a group of gas distributors in the country is denouncing a case of corruption within the Federal Office for the Consumer (PROFECO). The associations of LP gas distributors of Aguascalientes, San Luis Potosí, Jalisco, and Zacatecas published a letter addressed to the Executive Branch, denouncing that “corrupt officials of the PROFECO” are visiting their plants under the pretense of performing routine inspections to later threaten them with closure unless they receive a monthly payment of $ 50, 000 MXN from each, paid to Óscar Rincón, director of LP Gas Inspection, and $ 15, 000 MXN per month for his inspectors. They claim the inspectors are in contact with Rincón to agree on meetings in Mexico City and sort out the payments. The entrepreneurs say this is an extorsion, reason why they're asking the President to launch an investigation on the matter. Will their voices be heard?

The future of a prosecutor lies with the Senate

It's an unprecedented event: the Senate will summon the current head of the Mexican Office of the Attorney General (PGR), Alberto Beltrán, and the former prosecutor in charge of the Specialized Attorney's Office against Electoral Crimes, Santiago Nieto, to explain the reasons why the PGR has removed the prosecutor of this specialized office. Our sources say the president of the Chamber, National Action Party (PAN) Ernesto Cordero, has pointed out that this isn't a “face-off”, but an attempt at knowing the arguments in favor and against during the same session, so the legislators can decide, based on legal grounds, whether they will formally appeal the decision of the Deputy Attorney General – which could open the door for the reinstatement of Nieto. Just in case, the coordinator of the PAN Fernando Herrera has sent a very clear message to the legilslators who tend to be “absent” quite easily to shirk their duties, by pointing out that, given the importance of this matter for the democratic life of the country, “those who are abroad will be brought back, and the sick will be cured.” The future of the former prosecutor is in the hands of the senators.

Deputies retain immunity

We've been told the Political Coordination Board of the Chamber of Deputes has stuck the possibility of discussing at the Plenary Sessions the removal of immunity of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) deputies Tarek Abdalá and Alberto Silva, who were accused by the Prosecutor's Office of Veracruz of diverting funds during the administration of former governor of the state, Javier Duarte. This happened, because there was a tie during the vote recount, reason why they asked the Judicial General Director of the Lower Chamber, Juan Galván, to provide an interpretation, to see if the debate had to be taken to the Plenary Session or what was the appropiate proceeding, considering the Organic Law of the Congress specifies that, should there be no consensus, the matter shall be discussed during a Plenary Session for its discussion and possible approval. The case is that, for one reason or another, the PRI deputies seem to have a three-color blanket which has protected them until now from being held accountable by the corresponding authorities.

The perpetuals in the PT

A new contestation is the Labour Party (PT) about to face before authorities and electoral courts, because its owners – sorry, it's leaders – think they've found the method to remain forever and ever in their position. According to the by-laws, reelection is forbidden, yet, to go around it, the National Executive Board of the party went from 8 members to 155, the Coordination Commission, from 9 to 17, to allow parity, they say. Yet the same seven members who have been in their charges for over two decades at both organisms will return, again, for another 6 years. Of some note is worth mentioning, we're told, that Alberto Anaya, Alejando González, and Rubén Álvarez are part of the Board since 1995, according to the records of the electoral authority. In reality, they've been leading this party since the first time it was registered, that is, sine 1990 – 27 years ago.

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