The plague of irregularities and anomalies in the government of “Chemist” Benítez

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Irregular expenses and diversion of resources are part of the accusations that the former mayor of Mazatlán will face starting this week

Mazatlán, Sin.- The administration of Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres as mayor of Mazatlán was plagued with anomalies; full of excessive expenses and also not budgeted, which ended up seriously affecting the finances of the municipality, irregularities that he will face starting this week when he begins his trial.

The “Chemist” was a traveling mayor, in the four years he was in the municipal presidency he made at least 51 trips between regional, national and international, distributing an expense of one million 906 thousand 251.14 pesos.

He had nothing to be austere and the trips that were supposed to promote the destination ended up being luxury and pleasure. When he attended the Tourism Fair in Spain in 2020, Benítez Torres spent more than 8,200 pesos charged to the treasury for the purchase of alcoholic beverages, tequila shots, wine glasses, and whole bottles.

“Many of these expenses were not in the budget and there is a legal norm that says that a resource that is not budgeted is an irregularity, it is a diversion,” said Jorge Figueroa Cancino, representative of Comptrollership Citizen A.C.

Without public works

In 2022, 422 million pesos were budgeted for public works, but from the program, which included 273 works, only 69 were carried out. Where did the resource go?

“A good performance of public finances, according to experts, is that you allocate 30% of your budget to public works, the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness proposes this guideline. Public works is development and is a social benefit, however historically year after year government has been reducing spending,” he said.

He added that Luis Guillermo Benítez Torres was between 10 and 11 percent, even reaching only 9 percent of the budget.

“This is serious for the development of the municipality, because the spending is also going to current spending, for example the case of Culture, which he transferred resources to it,” he added.

Contracts without bidding

Figueroa Cancino also revealed that around 70 percent of the contracts entered into the City Council, for works and services, were not put out for bidding and instead were assigned directly, even though the amounts handled already warranted a public bidding between the companies.

“Awarding directly, without having a public contest involved, lends itself a lot to opacity, to corruption, whether there is or not, because they are assigned to the friend, the compadre, the acquaintance, the billing company or the people who accompanied him in the campaign”.

He covered up officials

In addition to granting appointments and positions to those who did not have the ideal profile, he covered up officials, such as the former treasurer, Javier Alarcón Lizárraga.

In 2021, the Administrative Court of Justice requested the City Council to dismiss and disqualify the former official for 10 years for contempt, after the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation ordered the Commune to pay an individual the amount of 37 million 93 thousand 300 pesos for expropriated land.

This complaint had its origins in the administration of Carlos Felton González, however Alarcón Lizárraga defied the payment order at least 35 times. Despite this irregularity, in November 2021 he was ratified again in the same position.

“The Administrative Court had determined that he be separated from his functions, but Benítez Torres preferred to maintain and ratify it; what has to happen is that he has to be prosecuted for abuse of authority and cover-up,” said lawyer René Castro Lizárraga.

There are several processes, he added, that have not been disclosed to the “Chemist” and that can come to light at any time.

Abuses

The legal representative of 10 civil associations that filed a lawsuit against the former mayor of Mazatlán mentioned that said lawsuit is still active and that the main grounds that motivated it are the violation of human rights of vulnerable groups such as those displaced by violence; attacks and threats against journalists, the illegal sale of municipal assets, the transfer of public and green areas to individuals such as the missing City Forest, now Central Park.

Authorities minimize

Castro Lizárraga announced that in the next few days they will file an appeal before the State Congress for inactivity and lack of respect for the procedure established against Benítez Torres, since after three months they have not received any notification of how the investigations are progressing. nor the status of the claim.

“Congress has a lot to account for, because with its actions it has been a concealer for the former mayor. The Prosecutor’s Office itself has minimized 16 complaints, it only says that they are causing two and one of them minor crimes.”

Aquarius in sight

Not only the Institute of Culture and JUMAPAM are targeted for mismanagement of economic resources, but also the Mazatlán Aquarium.

In the month of December, the current mayor, Edgar González Zatarain, pointed out that this paramunicipal had many observations from the State Superior Audit Office, mainly due to a public works issue that they developed and that they should have returned to the corresponding unit.

He recently declared that he is facing very strong observations and there is even talk of a financial mess, for which he will face several specific audits, in addition to a closing audit.

“There were things there, disorder, that even the Audit has strong observations, I am not going to be anyone’s cover, in addition to the traditional audits that are carried out and that the ASE already brings up this issue, the closing audits, because they are going to close that Aquarium next month, if there are irregularities there, they will appear”.

In 2022, 422 million pesos were budgeted for public works, but from the program, which included 273 works, only 69 were carried out.

Source: El Sol de Mazatlan