Monday, April 4, 2011

Dirty dealings in Mexico's National Forestry Commission?

Mexico's National Forestry Commission, Comisión Nacional Forestal (Conafor), has seen its budget increase 32-fold since its foundation in 2001 during the government of Vicente Fox. Its 2010 expenses stand at 6.57 billion pesos. All good and well, one might think, given Mexico's continued emphasis on reforestation and restoration of the country's forests.

However, Milenio has gotten access to a report by the organization's own comptroller, which strongly suggest that Conafor's procurement committee has drastically favored and overpaid some actors for tree plants and tree production. The report in particular signals business owners Carlos Urrea and Raúl Jiménez Michel, both from Jalisco and members of prominent PAN families from the state, as apparent beneficiaries of favoritism from Conafor - and its increased budget. One can only hope that a criminal investigation will be launched as well.

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