Cancun, Q.R. — Cancun mayor Mara Lezama has reported the dismantling of an alleged corruption network within the city council. She says the two-year investigation found people dedicated to the dispossession of homes in Cancun.
Lezama says that corruption was located in the Coordinated Revenue Directorate (Dirección de Ingresos Coordinados) and involved people from at least two administrations before hers.
“We were facing what could be a network of corruption and inexcusable complicity that came from previous administrations, so I ordered a thorough investigation, a thorough investigation,” she commented.
According to her preliminary report, those involved stripped families of their homes through deception and threats. Lezama says hundreds of cases were detected where those involved invented debts, duplicated deeds and faked legal acts, and, in many cases, managed to strip families of their assets.
“The priority of this administration is for families to recover their heritage, so this also serves to those who may be victims of this procedure, to come forward, to trust this council where they can be sure we are going to support them,” she stressed.
She says the investigation began after a citizen complaint where a homeowner was granted the return of his house after having been stripped of it three years earlier. The unidentified man said that he lost his house after false allegations of unpaid taxes by then-city officials.
Those city officials claimed the non-payment of taxes which lead to his home being seized and sent to auction. It was eventually awarded to a new owner. However, several months ago, and with the help of the current city council, a judge ordered the return of his home.
“Thanks to the citizen complaint and a person who requested support from the City Council’s Comptroller’s Office, we detected that in the Directorate of Coordinated Revenues there was a modus operandi that deprived families of their homes, especially of social interest, through tricks, deceptions, falsehoods and threats,” said Lezama.
She says faced with this situation, “out of moral and human obligation and after arduous investigative work, a file was compiled with the necessary evidence that would allow us to locate the list of the possible parties.”
Once they managed to solidly support the irregularities, they proceeded to stop the events, separate the people involved from their positions and help the families to recover their homes.
“The action of the city council will be blunt and without hesitation in collaboration with the competent authorities to establish responsibilities and ensure that these acts do not go unpunished,” she added.
“In Benito Juárez, corruption will be fought and we work to have a municipality with greater social justice,” she added. To date, they have been successful in recovering eight homes to their rightful owners.
Cancun city council is currently dealing with about 65 more lost home cases. She says the illegal acts took place between nine former officials of the previous two administrations, one headed by Remberto Estrada (2016-2018) and the other, by Paul Carrillo de Cáceres (2013-2016).
Without specifying the names, municipal comptroller Reina Arceo, announced that nine former public officials, through irregular administrative procedures, were awarded housing.
She added that due to the privacy required by the investigation, they cannot reveal the names of the former officials involved, but stressed that they will be sanctioned and dealt with by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office.