HomeNewsBriefReport Finds Gaps in Guatemala State Contract Database
BRIEF

Report Finds Gaps in Guatemala State Contract Database

ELITES AND CRIME / 11 DEC 2014 BY KYRA GURNEY EN

A report on Guatemala's registry of state contracts has identified several major issues that have dampened the effectiveness of what could be a powerful tool to fight corruption through improved transparency. 

According to a report published by non-governmental organization Citizen Action, Guatemala's online portal for information on state contracts and purchases -- Guatecompras -- is understaffed and seven years behind schedule, reported Prensa Libre. Only the initial phases of the website have been completed, according to the report, while sections of the site documenting open contracts, direct purchases, and information to monitor contracts, among other areas, have yet to be developed.

Even more troubling, according to Citizen Action, is that the complaints registered on the site have not been investigated. According to Guatecompras, Guatemala's Social Security Institute and Ministry of Health have received the greatest number of complaints this year, mostly for alleged favoritism towards certain providers, reported elPeriodico.

"The conclusion is that there's no interest in the continuity and improvement of these systems, which could turn into powerful tools to prevent and detect acts of corruption in public spending and investment," Citizen Action analyst Marvin Flores stated, reported Prensa Libre.

InSight Crime Analysis

If properly maintained and utilized, Guatecompras could deter corruption and provide officials, journalists, and other individuals with an effective means of monitoring state contracts. As evidenced by the Citizen Action report, however, in its present state Guatecompras does not serve its intended purpose of fostering transparency.

Guatecompras' shortcomings are a major issue because enormous quantities of money are at stake in government contracts, which can be the source not only of huge profits, but also of political influence, for the companies that win them -- regardless of whether the interests of the owners are licit or illicit. One of the most influential people in Guatemala's judicial selection process, for example, has made part of his fortune from state contracts for shoes and boots. Meanwhile, the Lorenzana clan -- which was one of Guatemala's major drug trafficking groups before the family patriarch was captured in 2011 -- owned numerous construction companies, some of which had state contracts.

SEE ALSO: Lorenzanas Profile

Public sector corruption is a problem that reaches the highest levels of Guatemala's government. As of 2012, President Otto Perez was a shareholder in Aerocentro airlines, which won a government contract to transport officials that year. According to Southern Pulse, Aerocentro's owner -- who also served as Perez's pilot during his 2007 presidential campaign -- has been linked to the Sinaloa Cartel.  

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 6 JAN 2015

The US justice system has proved, once again, that it has long arms. Between 2013 and 2014, it captured Hayron…

ELITES AND CRIME / 8 OCT 2014

As the votes from Peru's regional and local elections continue to be tallied, some candidates suspected of having illicit ties…

GUATEMALA / 17 MAR 2017

A Spanish court has acquitted Carlos Vielman, Guatemala's former interior minister, of taking part in the extra-judicial killings of at…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Emergency First Aid in Hostile Environments

24 SEP 2021

At InSight Crime's annual treat, we ramped up hostile environment and emergency first aid training for our 40-member staff, many of whom conduct on-the-ground investigations in dangerous corners of the region.

THE ORGANIZATION

Series on Environmental Crime in the Amazon Generates Headlines

17 SEP 2021

InSight Crime and the Igarapé Institute have been delighted at the response to our joint investigation into environmental crimes in the Colombian Amazon. Coverage of our chapters dedicated to illegal mining…

THE ORGANIZATION

Exploring Climate Change and Organized Crime

10 SEP 2021

In July, InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley moderated a panel for the Climate Reality Project's regional series of workshops for young climate activists in the Americas. The week-long event…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gearing Up a New Class of Interns

3 SEP 2021

InSight Crime is readying its newest class of interns – from universities in Europe and the Americas – to begin investigative work on a number of high-impact projects. For the…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Environmental Crime in the Amazon

27 AUG 2021

Next week, InSight Crime launches an investigation – conducted with Brazilian think-tank the Igarapé Institute – on the sophisticated organized crime structures and armed groups that…