By: Martin Hidalgo
There are 17 managers, assistant managers and directors that appear in reports from the comptrollership General of the Republic. Six of the latter carry accusations in the own Municipality of Lima, for past efforts. Another three appear in other types of complaints such as police.
Rafael Lopez Aliaga He has always boasted of having the best technical cadres on his team. At the start of his management in front of the Municipality of Lima, there are names of people with a high level of experience in public and private management, but the filters seem not to have had the same rigor in all cases.
Among 104 appointments (managers, deputy managers and board members), between January and February, it can be seen that at least 20 senior officials register questions about complaints or responsibilities detected by the Comptroller’s Office. Some of them even register accusations for positions held, in past administrations, within the Municipality of Lima itself.
Register of complaints
The list of questions begins with the municipal manager Óscar Lozán. In 2017, a document from the Superintendency of Banking, Insurance and AFP (SBS), the body in charge of regulating and supervising financial systems, warned of “lack of diligence in approving” credits by Lozán, then general manager of the Metropolitan Fund of Lima.
Lozán, according to the same document, had granted loans, through nine exceptions, to José Arturo Medina Ochoa, who provided advisory services to his general management. The credits were granted despite the unfavorable opinion of Risk Management and the “evidence of conflict of interest.”
Another senior official with questions is Víctor Paulini Sánchez, current member of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Solidarity System (SISOL), in charge of the so-called “Solidarity Hospitals.” Paulini unsuccessfully ran for district mayor of Magdalena with Renovación Popular, López Aliaga’s party.
In the private sphere, Paulini is the manager of the Santa María Magdalena Polyclinic (Biolabc) and, in 2019, a woman reported him to the Police for “improper touching” within his medical establishment. In this regard, Paulini said that this “fact was fabricated by some political contender because I was running for mayor.”
However, the complaint occurred in December 2019, when there was no ongoing electoral process. “The logical thing, if I wanted something, was to go out and shout, I always have patients,” said Paulini, who also said he did not have the complainant among her patients, nor in his security cameras. In addition, he stressed that the complaint was filed because the complainant was never located.
In the case of Pedro Sagástegui Bardales, appointed vice president of the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Investment Fund (Invermet), he was denounced for the crimes of aggravated culpable injuries and escape from the place in a traffic accident.
This case is similar to the one revealed by Panorama about Humberto Guzmán Quispe, president of the board of the Municipal Company for Support of Strategic Projects (Emape), who registers a police record for driving while intoxicated and fleeing.
Regarding the latter, López Aliaga said that the case was under evaluation after the same official expressed his willingness to resign. “I would be sorry to lose it. I know that it is very serious, but as a human being I understand his situation”, added López Aliaga.
We tried to talk to the mayor López Aliaga about the case of Sagástegui, Paulini, Lozán and others, but he refused to respond. He referred us to his municipal manager (involved in the list), but, until the closing of this edition, Lozán did not answer our calls or messages either. Nor could we get an answer from the deputy mayor Renzo Reggiardo.
Another 17 senior officials accumulate charges (administrative, civil and criminal) of the Comptroller’s Office (see infographic). In six of the cases, it is about responsibilities detected in positions they held in past administrations of the same Municipality of Lima, to which they return today.
Elvira Clara Moscoso Cabrera (current manager of Urban Mobility) and Hernán Roberto Pérez Vélez (current manager of City Services and Environmental Management) appear with administrative responsibility in a report where the Comptroller’s Office observed the contracting processes for painting services and the purchase of paintings. The award was granted to a bidder who did not meet the requirements established in the bases, and the user areas granted approval to the acquisition without having verified compliance with the technical specifications. The audited amount exceeded 6 million soles.
Another case that draws attention is that of the current Administration Manager, Jessica Patricia Villegas Vásquez, who appears in five reports from the Comptroller’s Office, and is now one of the main managers of the accounts of the Municipality of Lima. In one of those reports she is accused of criminal responsibility.
Isabel Ayala Melgarejo, current manager of Women and Equality, appears in three reports from the highest control body and registers the same number of charges for criminal responsibility.
The accusations of the Comptroller’s Office have almost never been executed due to the controversy over the sanctioning power of the institution. This was only regularized in 2021, when the Congress of the Republic approved a law criminalizing infringing conduct. Despite this, as the law is not retroactive, the majority of cases prior to that date have gone unpunished.
Outside of the questioned appointments, there is a political factor to take into account in the appointments of the Municipality of Lima. The first that stands out is the appointment of the former mayor of Miraflores Luis Molina and various officials from his district administration. Molina was a candidate for Lima for Avanza País, but it is worth remembering that he arrived in Miraflores at the hands of Solidaridad Nacional (today Renovación Popular).
Molina has been appointed as president of Serpar and the Cadastral Institute of Lima.
Sources from the Municipality of Lima indicate that the appointments of Molina and his associates demonstrate the alliance that exists with López Aliaga. But, according to the same sources, there is a power struggle in the circle of trust around the mayor and it has nothing to do with Molina. It is a dispute between the deputy mayor Renzo Reggiardo and the councilor Julio Gagó.
The members of Renovación Popular indicate that both are the ones who have the most communication with López Aliaga, and a dispute has begun to be noticed where each one has been forming their own team of allies.
Some sources report that Reggiardo is winning the game, for now, because he has congresswoman Norma Yarrow as an ally, a person close to López Aliaga since the campaign and whose daughter is a councilor for Renovación Popular.
The mayor, according to sources, trusts in his experience as ex-regidor of ex-mayor Luis Castañeda; In addition to the fact that she is Yarrow, she is an ally of the deputy mayor Renzo Reggiardo, since she came to participate in the ranks of the latter’s party, Peru Patria Segura.
The discrepancies that Yarrow had in the celestial bench were due to the fact that some legislators accused her of having “kidnapped” López Aliaga. That is a word that has begun to be repeated, this time on municipal land. Some district mayors have preferred to keep a slight distance, alleging that the new Reggiardo-Yarrow duo has encapsulated the mayor.
- Arturo Woodman, former president of the Peruvian Sports Institute (IPD), has been appointed as a member of the Lima Charity Board.
- The official councilor Deborah Inga was appointed as a member of the Board of Administration of the Lima Foundation. A few days later, she submitted her resignation.
- There are more than 10 positions in commissions, awaiting the designation of the titular members. Manager Isabel Ayala was entrusted with up to two other managers.