MAGA denounces corruption in food assistance programs

MAGA denounces corruption in food assistance programs
MAGA denounces corruption in food assistance programs

Guatemala City, July 4 (AGN).– The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Food (MAGA), in collaboration with the National Commission against Corruption (CNC), filed a complaint with the criminal courts. The complaint, which has been assigned to the Ninth Criminal Court of Instance, includes charges of:

  • authority abuse
  • embezzlement by theft
  • use of falsified documents

These charges are against the former director of the Food and Nutrition Assistance Directorate of the Vice Ministry of Food and Nutrition Security (Visan), who held office from January 27, 2021 to June 25, 2024.

At a press conference, Agriculture Minister Maynor Estrada and CNC Commissioner Santiago Palomo reported on the details of this complaint. Estrada and Palomo explained that the authorities had decided to carry out a thorough audit of the food assistance programs to detect possible irregularities.

Audit and verification

As part of this audit, lists of beneficiaries were sent to the National Registry of Persons (Renap) to confirm the existence of the registered individuals. Out of a sample of 2,499 people who died between May 1, 2023, and April 30, 2024, it was discovered that 33 of them were listed as beneficiaries of food rations. This irregularity raised serious concerns about the integrity of the assistance programs.

In addition to the deceased, the audit revealed that 1,969 employees of the Executive Branch had also benefited from these programs. The National Civil Service Office (Onsec) identified these employees as improper recipients of food assistance. The investigation also detected that 161 service providers to MAGA, with contracts under line 029, active between January 3 and December 31, 2023, are also involved.

In response to these findings, MAGA has taken immediate action. The current director of Monitoring and Logistics of Food Assistance at Visan will be dismissed, and the contracts of all persons implicated in these illegal acts will be terminated.

Minister Estrada stressed that more complaints will be filed against those who are stealing food intended for the most needy, ensuring that the rights of people in poverty and at risk of food insecurity will be protected.

Zero tolerance for corruption

Minister Estrada reiterated MAGA’s commitment to transparency and the fight against corruption.

In MAGA, we have zero tolerance for corruption and acts that harm the population.

The new ministry authorities requested a thorough audit of the financial management of Visan and its three directorates just days after taking office. The results of this audit revealed that deceased persons were being registered as beneficiaries, which prompted the filing of the complaint.

The Arévalo-Herrera government has shown a strong commitment to transparency and the fight against corruption. The actions taken by MAGA and the CNC are an example of this commitment, seeking to ensure that the resources allocated to food assistance actually reach those who need them.

Authorities have assured that they will continue to implement measures to verify and control food assistance programs, ensuring that the benefits reach the people for whom they are intended. This initiative not only seeks to eradicate corruption, but also to improve the quality of life of citizens in vulnerable situations.

The complaint filed by MAGA and the CNC reflects a coordinated and determined effort to combat corruption and guarantee the integrity of food assistance programs in Guatemala. These actions are expected to restore public confidence and ensure that resources intended for those most in need are used appropriately and transparently.

Read also:

National Commission against Corruption exceeds 100 complaints filed

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