GUANAJUATO — The new multi-million-peso home of the state Congress of Guanajuato is six years overdue, its costs have increased 464% and the state comptroller has detected irregularities on the part of the legislators themselves and the contractors in charge of the job.
Work on the site began in 2008 when construction was projected to be completed by 2010. Those ongoing delays have seen the budget soar from 130 million pesos (US $12.22 million) to its current figure of 734 million (US $39.7 million), and a firm completion date has not been set.
Since 2010 the new building has actually been dedicated on two occasions, but legislators were not able to move in because their offices were not finished. Nor were the administrative area, the library, the archival space and the refectory.
The plenary session hall, while technically finished, is still missing an electronic voting system and a display board.
The companies in charge of the construction include Edificaciones Modernas Nacionales, Constructora Domilop, Constructora Rayase and Movimientos Industriales de la Construcción.
In an investigation of the project, the comptroller detected that the two previous legislatures — each lasts three years —racked up spending irregularities of more than 200 million pesos (US$11 million).
According to data gathered by the comptroller, most of those consisted of contracts assigned to companies that provided false information, including their area of expertise. The misinformation is the main cause of the delays in construction.
Another major irregularity was the direct assignment of contracts, a procedure that bypassed issuing public tenders. In turn, the chosen contractors turned around and subcontracted the work.
Such was the case of Zip Zac Constructora, which provided a false legal address but nonetheless received 82.97 million pesos (US$4.5 million) for work that remains unfinished.
Another subcontracted firm, ConstruMáquina Básica, obtained a 120.53-million-peso contract to provide the facility with all the electrical installations and putting in air conditioning units, doors, windows and screens. The firm’s specialty, it has been revealed, is large-scale excavations.