Thursday 29 December 2011

Corrupt Mexican public servant caught in sting operation

After citizen complaints, a public servant tasked with promoting development programs in Mexico City (Programa de Desarrollo Humano Oportunidades) has been detained after an investigation determined that he was demanding money for inclusion in social programs.

This was a complex operation, involving three other organizations: the Attorney General’s office (Procuraduría General de la República, or PGR); the office for Internal Control (known as the Órgano Interno de Control, the OIC is tasked with evaluating federal government services); and the federal Ministry for Public Affairs (Secretaría de la Función Pública, or SFP, which is mandated to consolidate a government that is “honest, efficient, and transparent”.

In a press release, the SFP stated that complainant reported that the public servant required her to pay five thousand pesos (US $358). This would allow her and her neighbours to then get access to social services.

Apparently the bureaucrat indicated that similar deals had been in play for other low-income citizens and residents of Iztapalapa, in Mexico City.

The public servant was detained in a restaurant in Mexico City shortly after having received 2,000 pesos (US $143) from the complainant as partial payment of the full bribe. He has since been transferred for criminal proceedings as part of an investigation into the bribery charge, and is under the authority of the Attorney General’s office for the Federal District (Mexico City).

This may seem like very small beer, given the size of the problems presently faced by Mexico. However, petty corruption at the local level is rarely addressed in Mexico, and the fact that citizens successfully reported the incident, with the fair and open co-operation of numerous government bodies, is cause for some cheer.

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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