By KELIN DILLON
While Mexico City Governor Claudia Sheinbaum has repeatedly declared her intentions to create the most transparent Mexico City government in history ever since assuming the capital’s leadership in 2018, new reports have revealed that the Sheinbaum administration has been far from transparent when it comes to sharing where, how and to whom the Mexico City’s government contracts have been doled out.
The Mexico City government reportedly spent 57.95 billion pesos on public contracts in 2022 alone, with next to no details surrounding the year’s contracts involved made transparent to the public.
The capital’s Open Hiring site, which was created underneath the Digital Tianguis program of the Secretariat of Administration and Finance (SAF) and the Digital Innovation Agency (ADIP) to purportedly make all of Mexico City’s contracts publicly transparent, has only published public planning data and continually failed to indicate how or to whom government contracts were awarded between 2019 and 2022.
Information reported from the National Transparency Platform (PNT) also shows clear contract data discrepancies between Sheinbaum administration agencies; the Secretariat of Native Peoples and Neighborhoods and Resident Indigenous Communities, for example, officially reported a total of 29 contracts to the PNT during 2021, though an additional 50 contracts were found by public information requests for the agency that very same year.
Likewise, Sheinbaum’s creation of the Open Hiring digital monitoring platform, which would supposedly provide the public with transparency surrounding Mexico City government contracts, has failed to provide any transparent data to the public since the platform’s implementation in 2020. The platform will reportedly begin releasing data on contracts from the second half of 2023, leaving multiple years of contracts without the transparency promised to the public.
After an additional request for files was submitted by the Applied Investigation Unit for the data between 2019 and 2022, the Mexico City government sent over 684 folders for review – 224 of which, or nearly one-third of all files, were blank.
The Mexico City Transparency Institute then filed additional transparency claims that were met with filled folders from the Sheinbaum administration, though these new folders still failed to provide any substantial information or data on all the government contracts in question.
“One fact is clear: The exercise of spending on contracts by the government of Mexico City is not transparent nor does it allow for citizen surveillance, since there is no open data or a website for government contracts between 2019 and 2022,” said the Applied Investigation Unit of United Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity (MCCI).
Despite Sheinbaum’s claims to hold the “most transparent government in history,” her government’s failure to publish all of Mexico City’s promised government contract data to the public has made the Sheinbaum administration outlook decidedly more opaque.