MEXICO CITY Jan 30 Mexico's telecoms chief Mony
de Swaan is due to face lawmakers on Thursday who want to know
why he awarded millions of dollars in government contracts they
believe may have been redundant.
The contracts appear to be for substantially similar
consultancy work, according to a commission formed from
lawmakers charged with meeting when Congress is in recess.
Cofetel spent roughly 39 million Mexican pesos ($3.3
million) on five contracts with the Autonomous University of the
State of Mexico (UAEM) for about five months of work through the
end of 2011, including $900,000 spent on a review of the
watchdog's bureaucratic structure.
According to a statement by the congressional panel, some of
the work given out was similar to another contract awarded by
Cofetel to a private company called Enapsys in 2012, for close
to $5 million, for management advisory work.
De Swaan did not respond to a request for comment
immediately after the panel announced it would call him for
The phone market in Latin America's second largest economy
is dominated by Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, who
controls mobile operator America Movil and home phone
Broadcaster Televisa is by far the biggest
force in television.
Cofetel contracts have been under the microscope since a
Reuters investigation in December found de Swaan gave lucrative
work to friends - one of whom lobbies for the telecoms sector
and has lent his vacation home to de Swaan.
De Swaan, who has won praise for lowering phone rates and
trying to bring competition to Mexico's closed television
market, told Reuters in April that corporate interests are
trying to manufacture a scandal to derail his reforms.
At the time, he also denied acting improperly when asked
about the contracts.