AP

A new journalistic investigation by Mexican media outlet Animal Político is claiming the government of the southern state of Veracruz awarded multi-million contracts to several fake shell companies to “disappear” at least $35 million between 2012 and 2013.

The article, published Tuesday, says that several members from the administration of embattled Veracruz governor Javier Duarte signed 73 contracts to purchase goods such as blankets, food and school utensils that in theory should have been awarded to the poor as well as children and those affected by natural disasters. The report found that in many cases there was no proof the materials were even delivered.

“The contracts were signed by a small group of officials that have been in [Veracruz Governor] Javier Duarte’s political group for several years,” states the report. “These officials are the same ones that have been presumably involved in other corruption scandals.”

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The report names at least 10 officials, including the state’s former Finance and Education Secretaries, who were allegedly involved in the scheme.

According to Animal Político, the local government also participated in several other alleged irregularities, such as closed bidding processes to award some of the contracts.

The report comes as the election for the governorship of Veracruz gets heated up. A few weeks back a leaked wiretap seemed to show the opposition candidate from Mexico’s conservative PAN party had tried to purchase a $58-million condo in New York. The candidate blamed the audio on the ruling party’s so-called “dirty war” to win the election.

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But no matter how much dirt local politicians throw at each other, it seems it’s the people of Veracruz who always end up paying the price. In recent years the coastal state has become a hotbed for organized crime, rampant government corruption, journalist killings and femicides.

You can read the full Animal Político investigation here.