Auditor Denies Mistake in NAIM Cancellation Cost EstimationBy Jorge Ramos Zwanziger | Thu, 03/11/2021 - 10:45
“There is no mistake in the calculation of the cost of canceling NAIM,” said Agustín Caso Raphael, Auditor of the Superior Auditor of the Federation (ASF), according to El Financiero. Previously, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador had questioned the report’s veracity and claimed that the numbers were an exaggeration, as reported by MBN.
On Feb. 20, ASF published its 2019’s Public Account, which estimated the total cost of the cancellation of NAIM was MX$331.996 billion (US$15.856 billion), reported El Universal. These costs included non-recoverable costs of the investments made between 2014 and 2018 and the early termination of contracts. Two days after the report’s publication, on Feb. 22, López Obrador criticized the results. “They exaggerate and not only that, their data is wrong. I have other data. They are giving bad information to our adversaries and I believe that they should not lend themselves to these campaigns,” he said, according to El Financiero. ASF calculations showed costs 200 percent larger than what the Mexican government calculated but the government assured the report contained methodological errors, as reported by MBN.
Last week, ASF temporarily dismissed Caso, who was responsible for the report. ASF explained that it is not yet possible to determine the definitive cost of NAIM’s cancellation due to the complexity of the current situation. David Colmenares, Head of ASF, explained that the report was not made in bad faith and mentioned that a new audit team was working on “releasing a correct sum” of the cancellation’s cost, reported El País.
Is the Number Correct?
Caso explained that “the cancellation of such a large project is no easy feat,” which is why, “the audit group took the liberty to establish methodologies that shed light on such a phenomenon,” according to El País. These included the application of “non-countable economic criterion.” “There is no right or wrong number, only different methodologies,” he said according to El Financiero.
“There is no way to give a new number that could be established as the truth,” said Caso, according to El País. However, this statement contradicts Colmenares’ previous comments. Caso made it clear that, “it would be a serious issue if, on such important topics with such important projects, we, who must ensure the good performance or contribute to the good performance of the public administration, act in poor faith or vested in partisan interests. I say this with sincerity,” added Caso, according to Expreso.