The former Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, is under investigation for alleged property damage committed during his administration amounting to almost 3 billion pesos. It seems that this multimillionaire amount was assigned ‘off-budget’ to carry out commercial campaigns of Sedesol, Sedatu, SEP, Committee of touristic promotion, National Lottery, and the National Institute of Migration.
The Superior Audit of the Federation (ASF, for its Spanish acronym) will rule in the next few days on the responsibility of the former Secretary of the Interior, Miguel Ángel Osorio Chong, due to alleged property damage of almost 3 billion Mexican pesos. This money was assigned ‘off-budget’ to different public entities for the promotion and advertising of various governmental programs.
This audit body of the Congress, the ASF, is carrying out an in-depth investigation. It aims to assess the attitude of the Secretaries of State, as well as the social communication areas of the Ministry of Social Development (Sedesol for its Spanish acronym), Ministry of Agrarian, Land and Urban Development (Sedatu for its Spanish acronym). The former official, currently imprisoned, Rosario Robles Berlanga headed these last two bodies. What is more, the ASF is also investigating the Ministry of Public Education, led by Aurelio Nuño as he was provided with 2 billion Mexican pesos as a budget extension for the so-called educational reform.’
They are also conducting an inquiry into those former officials belonging to Enrique Peña’s first governmental team. Indeed, they were responsible for the authorization of all those budgetary extensions in the field of Social Communication, Promotion, and Advertising during Peña Nieto’s six-year term. Such former officials are the three former Secretaries of the Treasury, Luis Videgaray, José Antonio Meade y José Antonio González Anaya. They assigned additional budget amounting to nearly 30 billion Mexican pesos to various media without any authorization from the Congress.
The document points out that of the expenditure of 2.7 billion Mexican pesos out of budget, 1 thousand 100 million pesos corresponds to the disappeared Tourism Promotion Council. The rest, 1 thousand 700 million pesos, was given to the National Institute of Migration, the National Lottery, the Sedesol, and the Sedatu, among other entities.
On such a matter, the spokesperson of the former Secretary of the Interior, Roberto Femat, pointed out that ‘the outcome of the investigation carried out by the forensic audit office of the ASF will be made public in a few days. Everything was addressed in a timely and adequate manner so that any issue may be eventually solved.’
Isaac Rojkind Orleansky, an auditor expert in monitoring, reporting, and investigation, is carrying out one of the processes of revision of the document showing the results of the investigation (2017-0-04100-12-1697-06-001) of the forensic audit 2017-No. 1697-GB. From such a review they expect, in the next few days, the outcome of any potential loss or damage to the Federal Public Treasury amounting to almost 3 billion Mexican pesos. They also expect to find out the names of the alleged responsible, among whom former Secretary Osorio Chong stands out.
The former Director-General of the Social Communication area of the Ministry of the Interior, Héctor Gandini (the current press officer of the Mexican Social Insurance Institute), sent the answer of this agency to the ASF through document UAF/DGPyP/1466/2019, dated 15 April. AS the investigation period ran out, in the next few days, the conclusion of the audit on these cases will be known.
The analysis of the auditors shows that various bodies indicated as beneficiaries of the resources for promotion and publicity – such as the Tourism Promotion Council, the National Migration Institute and the National Lottery, among others – received part of the money raised by the Ministry of Finance. Such capital proceeded from the payment for rights made by foreigners to enter and leave the country. Hence, it is not money that by its nature was within the budget of the areas of Social Communication and was not authorized by the Chamber of Deputies.
The auditor expert of the ASF, Isaac Rojkind Orleansky, is also revising the functions covered by the responsible for the expenditure in the different areas of Social Communication of the Ministries of State involved. He is also investigating the decentralized and autonomous bodies that also participated in the distribution of resources to different media for advertising and promotion. As it is known, the functions of the Ministry of the Interior are only normative. The execution of the advertising expenditure of the federal government is not their task.
Strangely the ex-coordinator general of Social Communication and spokesperson of the Presidency of the Republic, lawyer Eduardo Sánchez Hernández, does not appear in these investigations and special audit of the ASF. He was responsible for approving and arranging the amounts of public money that should be allocated to companies and media owners, as well as journalists – mostly columnists – directly.
By Miguel Badillo
(Translated by: Federica Antoniani)