The accusations published on March 11, 2019, in which it is assured that the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS, by its acronym in Spanish) bought medicines for more than 526 million pesos to the company Marzam, pointing out an apparent conflict of interest, were stated as false accusations. This was confirmed by Sergio Eduardo Huacuja Betancourt, Coordinator of the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Mexican Bar Association in his expert report.
In the publication, it was pointed out that from 2015 to 2018, the IMSS bought medicines from the pharmaceutical company Marzam owned by Luis Doporto Alejandre, son of Hector Doporto Ramirez. Doporto Ramirez served as Technical Advisor of the institution, and, according to the article, favored and multiplied considerably the contracts granted to the pharmaceutical company.
However, in the expert report prepared by Huacuja Betancourt, B.A. in Law, it is revealed that due to omissions in the accusations published. It is clear that there was no conflict of interest in this case.
Among the Huacuja Betancourt conclusions reached on the report, the definitions of conflict of interest and influence peddling, based on laws of Administrative Responsibilities of Public Servants and the General of Administrative Responsibilities, stand out.
According to the “OECD Guidelines for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service,” presented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD, as well as in the “Guide to identify and prevent behaviors that may constitute conflicts of interest in public servants,” published in 2016 by the Unit Specialized in Ethics and Conflict Prevention of Interest, there are three classifications of conflict of interest: real, apparent and potential.
Attached to the definitions and legal framework, the real conflict of interest occurs when officials may unduly influence the execution of their powers and responsibilities.
The apparent classification is presented when there is an indication that the private interests of a public official may influence the performance of their obligations. While the potential conflict arises when a public official has personal interests likely to cause him to incur a real conflict of interest in the future.
On this point, Sergio Eduardo Huacuja Betancourt points out that “the types of conflict of interest to consider are exclusively real and potential, and the “apparent” must be dismissed.
Likewise, it indicates that in the documentation analyzed, “it is not proven that the functions performed by Hector Doporto Ramirez during the period considered, had any relation with intervention actions, authorization or performance of any procurement contracting procedure by the IMSS.”
It also emphasizes that, as part of the regulations governing the contracting of goods and services of the IMSS, it is not the Technical Council of the organization or its members, who define the substantiation or compliance with specific procedures for the acquisition of goods or services in the Institute.
The report also states that “Among the powers or functions of the alternate employer representation, performed by Mr. Hector Doporto Ramirez before the Technical Council of the IMSS or its Committees of which he was a member, none was found related to the possibility of intervening with any character in public contracts of general or specific acquisitions, so that no hypothesis of potential conflict of interest was updated, regarding the acquisitions of medicines carried out by the Institute during that period.”