The Mexican government pledged Saturday to investigate how a cousin of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador managed to get two contracts with the state-owned oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, known as Pemex.
The issue goes to the core of López Obrador’s central campaign promise to rid Mexico of corruption and insider deals.
The company Litoral Laboratorios Industriales is part owned by the president’s first cousin, Felipa Guadalupe Obrador Olan. The firm, founded in 2006, has won government contracts since 2013, long before López Obrador took office in December 2018.
But the government told Litoral Laboratorios Industriales in December 2019 to stop filing for bids because of the blood ties.
However, as late as November 2019 the firm somehow managed to join consortiums with several other firms to win two bids, first as part of a three-company alliance and the second time with seven other firms.
The relationship should have been listed on disclosure forms. Pemex pledged to investigate why the bids by the company and its associates were not disallowed.
Pemex said that at the time Obrador Olan was told she could not longer compete, she did not advise Pemex that her company was already participating in other bidding processes.
The company’s existing contracts will be cancelled, Pemex said in a statement.
The company’s website says it provides “chemical and microbiological testing of water, food and oil products.”
López Obrador has specifically pledged that relatives of government officials would not be allowed to get government contracts.