Mexican authorities are investigating their Dallas consulate office in connection with “irregularities” in the collection of passport fees. The fraud allegations have led to the removal of Mexican Consul General Enrique Hubbard.
The reaction by Mexican authorities was prompted by a report in The Dallas Morning News about alleged financial irregularities in which consulate staff “personally profited from selling passport photos and from skimming money from passport fees paid by customers.” The investigation apparently centers on an employee at the consulate doling out cheaper short-term passports but recording them as more expensive long-term passports.
In at least one case, an employee reportedly collected the difference for personal use, according to The Wall Street Journal, which attributed the information to senior diplomats familiar with the case. Anemployee who was fired in June, 2008 allegedly robbed the government of “tens of thousands of dollars” over a seven year period.The Consul General is not accused of corruption, but was viewed as being “too tolerant” although Hubbard’s defenders say he wanted to have sufficient proof to take action against the employee, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Mexico has 50 consulate offices in the United States, and their primary purpose is to issue passports and other documentation for Mexican clientele, as well as assist Mexican citizens with problems they encounter in the United States. The case has led to pressure from both Mexican legislators and members of the Mexican community in Dallas for Mexico’s Minister of Foreign Affairs to enact reforms and punish responsible employees at the consulate.
Campoy, Ana. “Mexico investigates passport corruption.” The Wall Street JournalAugust 29, 2009.
Corchado, Alfredo. “Mexico vows to weed out consulate corruption after passport-scam inquiry.” The Dallas Morning NewsAugust 16, 2009.
Corchado, Alfredo. “Investigation focuses on fired consulate worker.” The Dallas Morning News August 17, 2009