An audit into Mexico’s federal budget has found that the ultimate destination of more than US$8.5 billion (120 billion pesos) in the 2007 budget remains unclear. The money was supposed to have been used for public security, social programs and infrastructure purposes. It was instead dispersed among fidiecomisos, special funds and contracts with little or no explanation, according to Arturo Gonzalez de Aragon, who holds a federal post that oversees audits.
In the case of the public security budget, as much as between 43 and 44 percent of the money was not accounted for in the actual budget, according to the audit. That translates to US$200 million (2.86 billion pesos) of the US$474.2 million (6.65 billion pesos) authorized in 2007 for distribution among the states, according to one estimate in Millenio.
Gonzalez de Aragon called the movement of these public funds into special accounts as “a way of avoiding fulfilling obligations in regards to the spending of public money.” Once the money is placed in these alternative monetary funds, it becomes extremely difficult to corroborate their final destination and outcome, according to Gonzalez de Aragon. The auditing agency has formally requested that the information be provided as to how the funds were used.
Congressional members of the oppositional PRI and PRD are demanding more information on what the money was supposed to be used for. Legislators want to know in particular how much of the money was destined for firearms, bulletproof vests, cars and training for public security purposes. They are threatening to hold functionaries accountable for not using the money.
From the June Justice in Mexico Project’s Monthly News Report:
“Solicitan transparencia en fideicomisos por 120 mmdp por subejercicio.” El Financiero. June 7, 2009.
Damian, Fernando and Venegas, Daniel. ““Estados dejaron de aplicar 43% de fondon anticrimen.” Milenio. June 5, 2009.
Garduno, Robert. “Multimillionario subejercicio del gasto el primer anos de Calderon.” La Jornada. June 5, 2009.