By Juan Montes / Wall Street Journal
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto called Tuesday for the government’s watchdog agency to investigate whether there was any conflict of interest in federal government works awarded to contractors that sold homes to the first lady, the finance minister and to the president himself.
In public remarks about the real-estate scandals affecting his government, Peña Nieto reiterated that there was nothing illegal or improper in the purchases made from government contractors. But he acknowledged that revelations have generated doubts about the honesty of his government.
“I’m aware that these indications generated the appearance of something improper,” Peña Nieto said.
He said a panel of independent experts would review the results of the investigation made by the Ministry of the Public Service, which oversees the actions of public officials.
The government has been roiled by conflict of interest allegations for months since it emerged that the president, his wife and finance minister all bought homes from companies that went on to win contracts with the government, both during Peña Nieto’s time as a state governor and as president.