Systemic corruption: Bertha Michelle Mendoza’s brother accused of being responsible for irregular purchases and fraudulent contracts in MIDES
Different corruption cases have been revealed that have shaken the country during the last years. One of them has been about Gabriel Estuardo Mendoza Muñoz, brother of renowned activist Bertha Michelle Mendoza, who has been pointed out of charging an outrageous sum of Q25 million for the purchase of machinery destined to the Ministry of Development in 2016.
According to a public complaint filed by the newspaper el Periódico, Gabriel Mendoza, who at the time held the position of vice administrative and financial minister of MIDES, allegedly used his own family, including Bertha Michelle Mendoza, to launder the funds obtained through this dubious transaction.
Gabriel Mendoza Muñoz’s tenure at MIDES, which spanned from January 1, 2015 to October 1, 2015, lasting only 9 months in office, has exposed alarming levels of corruption within the ministry. According to an audit conducted by the Comptroller General’s Office, during the period between January 1 and December 31, 2015, Mendoza Muñoz’s management was plagued by irregularities.
El Peladero, a recognized media outlet, has published detailed information on the corruption case related to Bertha Michelle Mendoza’s brother. Among the irregularities found were suspicious purchases, contracts signed after the services had been contracted and deficient expense records. In addition, the audit revealed that the then vice minister signed contracts without reviewing their content and without requiring a performance bond. Even the Comptroller General’s Office pointed out that both Minister Edgar Rodriguez and Vice Minister Gabriel Mendoza failed to present evidence that could dispel the findings, since the «Mi Comedor Seguro» program was created before the state of calamity, and therefore, a bidding process should have been carried out.
In total, the brother of activist Bertha Michelle Mendoza has been criminally denounced before the Public Prosecutor’s Office for irregular handling of funds. In addition, he has been fined Q757,555.50 for his non-compliance in the performance of his duties as a public official and for irregular handling of funds.
Gabriel Mendoza Muñoz joined MIDES as vice minister in January 2015, during the end of the Patriot Party government. During this period, he was known by the nickname «El Transita», since, according to press publications, he amassed a fortune through businesses within MIDES. It was during the government of Jimmy Morales that the allegations against him began to become public, after the Comptroller General of Accounts presented its audit report, revealing irregularities committed during his administration.
Ironically, in 2019 and 2020, Mendoza’s brother was contracted as a State supplier for an amount of Q451,688.17, as recorded in the Guatecompras portal. Coincidentally, he was also hired as a legal advisor for the minister’s office, with the contracts being split between Q70,000, Q60,000 and Q50,000. This corruption scandal has generated outrage in society and has highlighted the need to take strong measures to combat corruption in the country.