MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s SFP audit agency announced disciplinary measures against 12 employees of state-owned Petroleos Mexicanos for improperly awarding 38.9 million pesos ($3.1 million) in contracts to firms that were unqualified to perform the required tasks.
The abuses occurred during the process of repairing hurricane damage at Pemex’s Escolin petrochemical complex in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the SFP said in a statement.
Audits uncovered “partiality and favoritism ... toward certain firms in the direct awarding of six contracts,” the statement said.
The head of Material Resources at Pemex Petroquimica was fired and banned from public employment for five years. Also dismissed was the PPQ maintenance superintendent.
Four other supervisory personnel were suspended for periods ranging from three to six months, while the other six employees received a “public reprimand,” the SFP said.
Auditors reviewed contracts totaling 60 million pesos ($4.9 million) and found more than half of them were awarded without any bidding process to three “companies without the experience or financial solvency to execute the contracts.”
The offending companies were each fined 783,000 pesos ($64,180) and barred for 2 1/2 years from doing business with the Mexican government.
The audit enabled Pemex Petroquimica to save $1.2 million, the SFP said.
Mexico’s biggest company has been the focus of several recent probes by the SFP, which announced last week that it imposed a total of $427 million in fines on 14 Pemex executives for irregularities in awarding contracts.
Some of those executives were found to have paid as much as 35 percent above market rates to rent tanker ships, costing Pemex more than $23 million, while other cases involved awarding contracts without applying the proper criteria and rigging the bid process to favor selected firms.
Pemex, which produces about 2.9 million barrels per day of oil and exports 1.6 million bpd, is the No. 3 supplier of crude to the United States.
Created after President Lazaro Cardenas nationalized Mexico’s oil industry in 1938, Pemex accounts for roughly 38 percent of government revenues. EFE