Bribery and corruption are a significant problem in Mexico, highlights a UK government report.
For starters, Mexico ranks 124th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, improving 11 places since 2017, despite the rise in scandals and recent criticism over levels of impunity and the political use of anti-corruption investigations.
The ranking remains a cause for great concern, as it places Mexico alongside countries such as Gabon and Pakistan.
There are currently 15 former governors under investigation in Mexico, one in jail, and other former high-level public officials being prosecuted.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the report indicates, the Mexican government has increased opaque single-source contracting in public procurement to record levels (unofficial estimates place the figure between 70 and 80%) using national security logic to prevent details from being investigated and deploying the military to carry out key infrastructure projects.
Despite this, bidding guidelines and public procurement platforms are being strengthened to reduce the risk of corruption in awarding contracts.
However, the document adds, this in turn can lead to you winning the lowest bid regardless of quality, and there are still a number of loopholes that many take advantage of.
Numerous UK companies report successful business operations in Mexico that are free from corrupt practices, or have managed to find ways to avoid this preventing them from doing business.
Mexico is a signatory to the 2016 London Global Anti-Corruption Agreement.
Likewise, Mexico has modernized its anti-corruption legislation, most recently with the creation of the National Anti-Corruption System, although there have been setbacks in its implementation.
Mexico’s anti-corruption laws, with similarities to the UK Bribery Act 2010, began to be implemented in July 2017.
There is an independent body in Mexico with the authority to coordinate intergovernmental efforts against corruption.
The new laws give the federation’s Superior Audit Office the powers to conduct “real-time” audits and monitor the resources that are transferred from the federal government to Mexican states.
The Ministry of Public Administration and the Court of Administrative Justice are also being strengthened; the latter will have the right to sanction both public officials and companies involved in acts of corruption.
Anti-bribery protocols are being created and all public servants are required to declare their assets and interests, although these will not be made public.
In addition, companies will be required to have corporate responsibility mechanisms.
Mexico ranked 116th out of 141 countries in the Corruption Incidence of the WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2019 (improving with respect to the previous edition).