By KELIN DILLON
A new report by Mexico’s Superior Audit Office of the Federation (ASF) detailing the expenditure of the government’s public mega-projects, executed through the compilation of 15 financial and performance audits, has revealed inherent disorder, delays and irregularities found within the construction of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) pet projects, like the Tren Maya, the Dos Bocas refinery and the Felipe Ángeles International Airport (AIFA), totaling more than 60 billion pesos in expenses needing to be clarified.
At the AIFA, which is expected to begin operations in a month, the ASF found cost irregularities in awarded construction contracts, payments made without documentation and a number of contracts outside of the requirements of the Mexican Entity of Accreditation.
“In supplier warehouses and workshops there is a surplus and waste material that was donated by the Mexico City Airport Group without its use and destination being proven to date,” said the report, noting that the materials have an actual cost of 6 billion pesos that were not registered due to their “donation” status.
Similarly, the audit noted 20.243 billion pesos in expenditures and 19.2 billion pesos in payments were contributed to the AIFA project by the Secretariat of Defense’s (Sedena) Public Trust for Administration and Payment of Military Equipment.
At the same time, Mexico’s conservative National Action Party (PAN) accused ASF head David Colmenares of using 50 million pesos to remodel his office, as well as giving in to presidential pressures made by López Obrador. AMLO’s vocal distaste for the previous results of ASF audits has caused the office to backtrack on its audits in turn, causing controversy surrounding AMLO’s influence over the organization.
For his part, AMLO used the ASF’s history of backtracking at his behest in his favor when addressing the issue during his daily morning press conference on Monday, Feb. 21.
“Remember how the ASF came to say that canceling the Texcoco Airport had cost us 300 billion pesos, and they had to accept that 100 billion pesos were paid to the contractors who already had commitments with the previous government,” said AMLO at the time. “So that is still preliminary, of course our adversaries, conservatives and corrupt people use it because they think it is the same … Everything will be clarified in time.”