Mexico's anti-corruption efforts takes a PR blow

Mexico’s anti-corruption efforts takes a PR blow

Mexico’s president has made punishing corruption the centerpiece of his political agenda, so when one of many nation’s most corrupt and self-confessed ex-officials was photographed eating out carefree at a luxurious restaurant over the weekend, it wasn’t good optics.

The images of Emilio Lozoya, the previous head of the state-run oil firm who’s now a authorities witness in a corruption case involving allegations of a whole lot of thousands and thousands in bribes, could not have come at a worse time.

Presently, Mexico’s legal professional normal is making an attempt to lock up 31 lecturers in a most safety jail as a result of he claims they improperly acquired about $2.5 million in authorities science funding years in the past. The legal guidelines on the time allowed such funding, and the researchers say it wasn’t misspent.

In the meantime, the identical legal professional normal hasn’t managed to jail any of the highest figures implicated in an enormous corruption case on the state-run Pemex oil firm that just about bankrupted the agency.

Mexico Metropolis safety analyst Alejandro Hope was blunt in regards to the uproar Monday: “The optics suck. They’re horrible.”

Even López Obrador was angered by the photographs of Lozoya in a Mexico Metropolis restaurant, despite the fact that as a protected witness he isn’t confined to his dwelling or beneath any type of arrest.

“I consider it’s authorized, however is immoral that these items occur. It’s imprudent, on the very least,” López Obrador mentioned. “That’s the reason there may be a lot indignation at him consuming at a luxurious restaurant. Despite the fact that he can legally achieve this, he’s a witness to acts of corruption that broken Mexico quite a bit.”

It’s all the extra embarrassing as a result of López Obrador introduced Monday he’ll make solely his second journey exterior the nation to go to the United Nations on Nov. 9 — to offer a speech in regards to the risks of corruption.

Lozoya fled to Spain was arrested there and extradited again to Mexico in 2020. He shortly determined to show state’s proof and testify in opposition to different former officers, in return for not going to jail himself.

Lozoya alleged that former President Enrique Peña Nieto and his right-hand man, then treasury secretary Luis Videgaray directed him to bribe lawmakers, together with 5 senators, to help controversial vitality and different structural reforms in 2013 and 2014.

Lozoya additionally faces corruption prices associated to Pemex’s overvalued buy of a fertilizer plant and to thousands and thousands in {dollars} of bribes paid by Brazilian development agency Odebrecht. He has mentioned Peña Nieto and Videgaray instructed him to make use of $4 million from Odebrecht to pay overseas marketing campaign consultants for work on Peña Nieto’s 2012 election marketing campaign.

Videgaray has denied the accusations. Peña Nieto, who left workplace in 2018 and is reported to stay overseas, hasn’t spoken publicly because the allegations surfaced. Neither man faces any prices.

And the businessman accused of bilking the federal government on the fertilizer plant deal shortly repaid a number of the cash and was launched.

So the one individuals prosecutors have actually gone after within the case are the opposition politicians who allegedly acquired the bribes, and that has raised suspicions in a rustic the place the legislation has lengthy been used solely to punish political enemies.

The workplace of Lawyer Normal Alejandro Gertz Manero mentioned in a press release that the case in opposition to Lozoya and the opposite allegedly corrupt officers continues. He mentioned Lozoya’s case will come up once more at a Nov. 3 listening to.

However Lozoya has already received quite a few extensions in his case. “Lozoya has been capable of play for time, and he could also be betting on this administration ending,” mentioned Hope, the safety analyst.

The images of Lozoya eating out with pals just about put to relaxation the concept that López Obrador was going to energetically prosecute crimes of the previous, the analyst mentioned.

“That is the final nail within the coffin of the fantasy that this case was going to blow the lid off the sewer of corruption,” Hope famous.

Gertz Manero’s workplace, in the meantime, remains to be making an attempt to lock up 31 lecturers and researchers in a most safety jail normally reserved for drug lords despite the fact that one choose has already refused to difficulty arrest warrants for them.

Protests had been heard from researchers in Mexico and overseas final month after prosecutors accused the lecturers and members of a scientific advisory board of cash laundering, organized crime and embezzlement, for allegedly spending an excessive amount of cash on superfluous gadgets circuitously associated to analysis.

Members of the advisory board, created to advertise scientific dialogue, mentioned that the $2.5 million was not misspent and that it operated beneath the council’s personal guidelines for greater than 15 years.

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