Business under the mantle of public treasury

OPINION: The current federal administration has transferred over one billion pesos to 23 companies whose owners are deputies, senators or even their own relatives

English 08/06/2017 09:44 Mexico City Newspaper leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 14:51
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One of the virtues of transparency - the one that citizenship demands and that faces resistance within the political class - is disclosing data like the piece EL UNIVERSAL makes public today: The current federal administration has transferred over one billion pesos to 23 companies whose owners are deputies, senators or even their own relatives.

The research mentions more than a dozen legislators but states that only two of them have obtained contracts with the federal government since 2013 for almost 800 million pesos. A single deputy obtained contracts for 505 million pesos.

Actions of this kind only contribute to reaffirming the perception in society that the arrival to some public office automatically becomes a springboard to develop juicy businesses under the protection of the treasury and that the commitment with the citizenship comes second.

Among the beneficiaries, the existence of a conflict of interest is ruled out, since it is argued that it only occurs "when the position of relevance and influence of a public officer can generate a public decision for their own benefit and the official intervenes actively in function of that benefit ".

However, the rules of the Chamber of Deputies - and similarly the Senate - establish that legislators have an obligation to "report matters in which they have interests or can obtain personal benefits and excuse themselves from participating in the promotion, management, recommendation and discussion thereof. "

Although the determination of whether there is a conflict of interest is a matter for the judicial sphere, the aforementioned contracts do little to counteract the mistrust of the political class; mistrust that grows because of the poorly collaborative attitude of public officers.

In the face of citizen proposals of greater transparency, openness and control of public spending, there are always arguments that sound like evasions to open up the total use of resources, which results in Mexico always appearing among the countries with the greatest problems of corruption in international studies; because of this, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has placed it at the end of its 34 members. With the lack of determined support from the National Anti-Corruption System, whose full implementation has not been achieved, political actors seem to have no interest in changing the country's image before the world.

The double role of legislator and entrepreneur need not be questioned. Representatives from all sectors can come to the Congress. The problem begins when, in addition to the large revenues and privileges to which they have access, businesses with the government are also added. How to show that there was no preference over other competitors? There is something here that deserves to be explained in detail.


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