Mexico awards highway project to sons of banned contractor
By Elinor Comlay
MEXICO CITY, April 16 (Reuters) - Mexico has awarded a $75 million highway contract to a company closely linked to a contractor that was banned from government work after botching two projects, including a job on the same highway.
The Communications and Transport Ministry awarded the road contract late last year to a business named Epccor. Epccor is owned by the sons of Juan Diego Gutierrez Cortina, who controls a company that is on the government's list of banned businesses. Among the ties between the two companies, one of the sons serves as a director of both firms, a public filing shows.
A Reuters investigation earlier this year found Gutierrez Cortina's company, Gutsa Infraestructura, is among dozens of contractors that have won work with state oil company Pemex even after being barred from contracting by the Public Administration Ministry. Some banned companies have changed their names and shareholders in order to win new contracts.
Mexican law prohibits government entities from contracting with companies that have shareholders directly or indirectly in common with banned contractors.
Epccor itself hasn't been banned. A spokesman for the transport ministry said it does not sign contracts with banned companies. The spokesman did not respond to questions about the ties between Epccor and Gutsa.
Epccor, in partnership with a Spanish company called Construcciones Aldesem, won a 1.045 billion peso contract to widen a 14.5 kilometer (9 mile) bypass around the city of Cuernavaca on the Mexico City-Acapulco highway. The partners presented the lowest eligible bid. Continuación...