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News > Latin America

Mexico: New Report Exposes Anti-Corruption Shortcomings

  • A man keeps Mexican pesos inside a safe in Mexico City, Mexico, August 3, 2017.

    A man keeps Mexican pesos inside a safe in Mexico City, Mexico, August 3, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 4 November 2017

The report, which Reuters reviewed, showed that the government is “gravely deficient” in its anti-corruption plan.

A new report reviewed by Reuters indicates that the Mexican government is not doing enough to combat corruption within the country.

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The 321 page report showed that the government is “gravely deficient” in its anti-corruption plan, according International Action Financial Group, or GAFI. GAFI, an association of international governments working to combat money laundering, found that approximately US$58.5 billion was generated from narco trafficking, tax fraud and other crimes within the country in 2014 alone. This represented 6.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. 

Since these gains are derived illegally, the money can more easily be laundered.

The study did not take into account financial transactions related to government corruption. 

The report read that there’s a “high threat” that “the illicit resources will be laundered in Mexico.” The word “high” was placed in all caps and highlighted, Reuters reported. The GAFI report is the first in-depth publication on illegal money transactions and is part of a larger investigation regarding illegal assets.

The association made its conclusions using reports and paperwork from the Treasury, Defense and Interior Affairs national secretaries as well as the Housing and Public Credit commission. The group also used information provided by the state-run Bank of Mexico. 

The Mexican government said that it had made significant improvements against tax evasion and money laundering since it first started to combat illicit monetary transactions, admitting that it needed to install “more efficient mechanisms” to combat corruption. 

Yet, President Enrique Peña Nieto has said that corruption in Mexico is “cultural,” to which he received heavy criticism seemingly excusing and evading government responsibility to confront corruption and impunity. 

The government has since set in place the National Anti-Corruption System. 

Investigators concluded that the government should further “create public policy that sheds light on corruption in Mexico,” suggesting that officials standardize penal codes across all levels of government to implement sanctions against corruption and money laundering.

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The national non-profit organization Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity reported that corruption in the country represented between two to 10 percent of the country's GDP in 2016. 

A system of government and civil society corruption and impunity in Mexico contributed to it being ranked 128 of 137 for ethics and corruption indices for 2017-2018 by the World Economic Forum.

But it's not just elected officials and civil society members who are guilty of corruption and bribes in Mexico. So are public works employees.

Fifty one percent of average Mexican citizens are forced to pay kickbacks to state workers in order to gain access to basic civil services within the school, hospital, police and court systems, according to an October publication by Transparency International. This, compared to 28 percent in Ecuador, 30 percent in Colombia and 33 percent in Honduras. 

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