Threats to ASF’s Credibility & ReputationBy Lorenzo Núñez | Fri, 02/26/2021 - 09:16
There is huge controversy regarding the latest audit from the Superior Auditor of the Federation that shows possible irregularities in many Mexican projects. How can this controversy impact ASF’s credibility?
As reported by MBP, ASF generated uncertainty when it corrected data regarding the cancellation costs of NAIM. ASF said on Monday that the total cost was MX$332 billion. This represents 232 percent more than what the federal government had originally predicted at the start of President Lopez Obrador’s administration (MX$100 billion). In a recent tweet, the Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Arturo Herrera said it was merely a matter of simple mathematics, which is why they found it extraordinary that a highly professional auditor, like ASF, could make such mistakes. Herrera said that in the first analysis of NAIM, ASF had made mistakes in 75 percent of the total report.
Following the president’s statements, where he referred to the report as being “exaggerated,” and Herrera’s criticisms, ASF announced that they recognized some inconsistencies in their report. This mistake has had some unintended side effects. Some public institutions are backed up by their credibility and reputation. Without these, ASF may lose its validity. Concerns have risen around ASF’s position against López Obrador’s claims. However, the body has already stated its position. “We do not want to be used by anyone for political purposes. That is why I ordered today that it is necessary to clarify the issue, particularly regarding financial compliance,” said David Colmenares Paramo, Superior Auditor of the Federation, as reported previously by MBN.
Colmenares will certainly not have an easy time ahead. In October, the ASF will deliver the first results for López Obrador's second year in office and its credibility might be put in question. “This situation is a disaster from wherever you look at it. What they have done worries me. In the best case it shows incompetence. In the worst case, it shows a reaction to political influences,” said Marco Fernández, Professor and Researcher at Tecnológico de Monterrey, in an interview with El Pais.
Ever since Colmenares’ arrival in the ASF in 2018, there have been less forensic audits. Only two months after his appointment as chief auditor, he fired Muna Dora Buchahin, the person in charge of forensic audits who had recently denounced a massive diversion of resources during former President Peña Nieto’s administration. Colmenares did not give a lot of explanations in regards to Buchanin’s dismissal.