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Cofepris personnel being investigated for alleged acts of corruption

Chetumal, Q.R. — Government authorities continue looking into allegations of corruption inside one of its branches. Officials are in the process of auditing personnel from the Federal Commission for the Protection of Sanitary Risks (Cofepris) on allegations of corruption.

Their on-going audit began shortly after the sudden resignation of Miguel Pino Murillo, who was head of the state’s Cofepris office until December. Bertha Alcalde Luján, head of the Sanitary Operation Commission that oversees Cofepris offices, confirmed that they have received complaints regarding corruption from inside the federal agency.

The complaints, she said, were made by numerous businessmen who made claims of bribery in exchange for paperwork. For this reason, the agency lost some of its power and an investigation opened before the Ministry of Public Administration and the Attorney General’s Office.

She explained that the repeated complaints by businessmen combined with the number of anomalies detected in the Cofepris agency lead to the decision to revoke its representation agreement, removing from this (Chetumal) address, the power to verify laboratories.

Alcalde explained that they continue with their audit and evaluation of all personnel, detecting usurpation of functions and extortion, among other alleged acts of corruption.

Carlos Ortiz Velázquez, the new director of Cofepris, commented in an interview that one of his main tasks is to regain the trust of businesses and companies, “because in the past, administration things were handled in a murky way.”

“We intend to rebuild trust with entrepreneurs so instead of kicking the anthill, we will try to have direct communication to help them get ahead,” he said.

One of the first abnormalities detected in the Cofepris office were unverified inspectors. People who lacked verifying functions, but participated in operations anyway.

He says as the new head, he intends to recover the revoked agreement with Cofepris to undertake reviews of laboratories and clinics as well as post photos online of the agency’s verified inspectors.

After the holidays, he says all personnel inside the office will be subject to review. “They are all subject to review from the deputy director down,” he said.

Miguel Pino Murillo resigned from his position as coordinator for Cofepris in December after the head of the agency, Bertha Alcalde Luján, initiated several investigations against him for irregularities.