Mexico’s anti-corruption secretary, Virgilio Andrade, announced his resignation Monday,only hours before Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto signed a package of anti-corruption bills.
Andrade said in a brief statement, “I decided to present today to the president of Mexico my resignation as secretary of the public functions secretariat, so that the federal executive can fully comply with the constitutional mandate to count on, within the National Anti-corruption System, a secretary of the public function secretariat appointed and ratified by the senate."
According to the new National Anti-corruption System, the head of the public functions secretariat must be appointed by Mexico’s president and later ratified by the country’s senate.
Peña Nieto appointed Andrade in February 2015 to lead a government investigation into potential conflict of interests or corruption regarding Peña Nieto, his wife Angelica Rivera, and Nieto’s Finance Minister Luis Videgaray. Investigative journalists revealed—in what would become known as the 'Casa Blanca' scandal—that the three had purchased multi-million dollar homes in upscale Mexico City neighborhoods from prominent government contractors.
Eight months later, Andrade, a confessed college friend of Videgaray, determined that no wrongdoing was committed in the case.
The Anti-Corruption System
Originally the series of 7 bills known collectively as the Anti-Corruption System were to be signed into law in June, however the event was postponed after ruling party lawmakers of the Institutional Revolutionary Party sought changes to a citizens’ backed anti-corruption measure known as '3de3.'
Originally the 3de3 initiative was to require that all public officials, their family members and citizens or companies that receive government contracts or public funds to make transparent and public their assets.
However PRI lawmakers, pressured by their constituents from the business community, blocked the article that would make it an obligation for private companies and their CEO’s to make public their assets.
The 3de3 proposal emerged after a 2014 change in Mexican law that now allows for citizens to propose legislation if more than 120,000 valid signatures are collected.
Along with the 3de3 measure, the Anti-Corruption System incorporates a 5-member citizens committee that will be made up of individuals from NGO’s to oversee the implementation of anti-corruption laws; a judicial group as well as members from Mexico’s transparency agency the INAI to strengthen checks and balances; the formation of an anti-corruption prosecutor’s office; the definition of sanctions and sentences for public officials accused of corruption; and the application of these models at the state level.
According to figures from the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness, acts of corruption cost Mexico’s economy an estimated 10% percent of its gross national product annually and an estimated eight times the annual budget for social-development programs.
And according to statistics from Mexico’s National Poll of Government Quality and Impact published by the country’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, 90 percent of the Mexicans polled are witness to acts of corruption regularly.