The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption. However, the government did not enforce the law effectively. Credible reports indicated that officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity and that relatively few cases came to trial. Corruption at the most basic level involved paying bribes for routine services or in lieu of fines to administrative officials and security forces. More sophisticated and less apparent forms of corruption included overpaying for goods and services to provide payment to elected officials and political parties. A 2011 survey by Transparency International found that the average citizen spent about 14 percent of his or her income on bribes. In a 2012 survey on corruption, 23 percent of respondents told national daily Reforma that they had paid a bribe in the last year, and more than 80 percent replied that they believed there was significant corruption in the government, in the prison system, in political parties, and in the judiciary.
The law requires all federal and state-level appointed or elected officials from the middle to high ranks to provide income and asset disclosure for themselves, their spouses, and dependents. The Secretary of Public Functions (SFP) monitors disclosures with support from each agency. Disclosures are required at the beginning and end of employment; yearly updates are also required. Declarations are not made available to the public unless the official provides consent; otherwise, it is the prerogative of SFP to monitor the statements. Criminal or administrative sanctions apply for abuses.
From April 2011 to October 2012, the PGR initiated legal proceedings for corruption against 1,100 employees, approximately 280 of whom were convicted by year’s end. From January through November, the INM dismissed 500 employees accused of corruption and human trafficking (10 percent of the institution’s manpower), 200 of whom were under PGR investigation at year’s end.
By law all new applicants for federal law enforcement (and other sensitive positions) must pass a vetting process upon entry into service and every two years thereafter throughout their careers. In July the PGR announced that since April 2011, it had dismissed 729 officials, including federal ministerial police, investigators, and prosecutors, for failing to meet the requirements of the vetting process. At the state level, there was a lack of uniform vetting procedures.
The CNDH continued to report that police, particularly at the state and local level, were involved in kidnapping, extortion, and in providing protection for, or acting directly on behalf of, organized crime and drug traffickers. Local forces in particular tended to be poorly compensated and directly pressured by criminal groups, leaving them most vulnerable to infiltration. Responsibility for investigating federal police criminal or administrative abuse falls under the purview of the PGR or the SFP, depending on the type of offense.
The SFP is charged with sanctioning corrupt practices among federal executive branch employees. According to the SFP, in the last six years the agency levied 50,000 administrative sanctions against public workers for corrupt acts. The SFP referred more than 2,000 cases for criminal prosecution, but only 100 government officials served time in prison as a result of the referrals.
In April police arrested Nestor Moreno Diaz, former head of the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE), on charges that he received more than 30 million pesos ($2.35 million) in bribes from Swiss electrical engineering company ABB. The SFP fined Moreno and four other CFE directors nearly 70 million pesos ($5.48 million) and banned them from public service for 17 years and six months. Moreno remained in prison as his criminal case proceeds.
There were numerous investigations into corruption by police at the federal, state, and local level. Cases included the two highest-ranking federal police officials in Baja California. The SSP’s police commissioner for Baja California, Luis Eduardo Vega Camberos, and his second in command, Alfredo Garcia Castillo, were arrested on September 27 in a PGR sting operation on charges of extorting local businesses.
On August 6, the government brought charges of crimes against public health for collaborating and fomenting narcotics trafficking against General Ruben Perez Ramirez and Major Ivan Reyna Munoz, two army officers already imprisoned for aiding and abetting narcotics trafficking.
Federal authorities arrested two tax officials in Coahuila during the year and issued arrest warrants for five former state officials for alleged involvement in loan fraud, which added more than 25 billion pesos (nearly two billion dollars) to the state’s public debt.
On November 6, the congress passed legislation obliging states to increase the transparency of their budgets and their spending, debt hiring, and management and restructuring decisions. The fiscal transparency legislation also mandated harmonization of state financial accounts and reporting to better track use of public resources, including spending on public education and healthcare.
The Federal Institute of Access to Public Information (IFAI) is responsible for guaranteeing access to government information from the federal executive, legislative, and judicial branches. IFAI received 94,724 such requests during the year, with 2,544 requests related to the PGR and 1,930 related to the SSP. The law requires that information requests be answered within 20 days. There are minimal reproduction and mailing costs for requested information that is not available in digital format. The law includes exceptions to disclosure of government information, including for information that may compromise national security, impact the conduct of foreign relations, harm the country’s financial stability, put another person’s life at risk, or for information relating to pending law enforcement investigations. The law also limits disclosure of personal information to third parties.
Access to information continued to be difficult in some states. All states had laws complying with the 2007 constitutional reforms regarding access to information, and have signed formal agreements with IFAI to make the information system on government operations, Infomex, available for petitions for state government information.
In March 2011 the Supreme Court ruled that the PGR had the right to withhold information from the CNDH in cases that were actively under investigation. In December the CNDH reported to the press that legal barriers and PGR’s discretion sometimes impede CNDH’s ability to carry out its mission, citing in particular PGR’s ability to limit CNDH’s access to pretrial investigations.
The SSP continued to expand the Intranet-based communications and analytical platform, Plataforma Mexico, which was continually updated with information on police at all levels and was utilized for personnel evaluations and ongoing investigations.