After his arrest and subsequent extradition to the country, Pemex former director’s revelations were expected to cause a shock, and that is exactly what happened. From his first statements, everything indicates that we are facing one of the largest corruption cases in the country’s history. The former official stated that legislators who participated in the “Pact for Mexico” reforms’ approval received bribes to approve the energy reform and other initiatives promoted by the past administration.

The Attorney General’s Office (FGR) must carry out a thorough investigation to assign responsibilities and punish the corrupt without any type of political persecution. The last consequences must be reached, no matter who falls and regardless of the political party to which they belong. The former government official also disclosed that Odebrecht paid to obtain benefits in federal contracts. This was also revealed in many journalistic investigations during the previous administration, which was due to the opacity in the tenders and it seems that these practices continue to happen in some state governments.

Last week, Aguascalientes government was supposed to announce the tender for the construction of the west highway bypass winner, but the result was postponed, arguing the large number of documents that needed to be reviewed. It seems that a smokescreen has been generated around this result. This project has been around for 12 years and for different reasons it has not been carried out. Three consortia participated in the tender, and depending on the chosen project, it could cost between 1,720 million and 3,700 million pesos. The project seeks to reduce the traffic load in the area, however, given it longevity, the population has grown accustomed to the situation and has learned to live without the bypass.

These irregularities are not new, even back in December 2019, the state’s government made the decision to revoke the concession title and to start a new process, but it has not managed to make the process transparent to guarantee that the winning company will be corruption-free. Most governments see public construction projects as an opportunity to detonate economic growth in their entities, especially during these pandemic times. But the situation we are experiencing currently should not be an excuse for not making all the public information transparent.

Favoritism and influence peddling are corruption’s own practices. And public projects should not be defined through them, therefore, the Ministry of Public Function (SFP) and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation (SCT) have to be very vigilant in order to prevent these cases. On Wednesday, July 29, the winning company for the Aguascalientes’ west highway bypass will be announced, so hopefully the chosen company is the one that best suits the citizens. Regardless of the decision, we will follow up on the issue.

* Arturo Ávila Anaya, IBN/B Analitycs President and National Security Expert by Harvard (NIS).