Archive for July 29th, 2010

Pudreval affair, bigger, more corrupt and inefficient than anyone imagined

July 29, 2010

(A container is worth more than one thousand words)

If people had thought that the Pudreval affair, involving the discovery of more than 130,000 tons of rotten food all around the country, was a demonstration of the corruption and inefficiency levels of the Chavez Government, the publication of Pdvsa’ s internal audit on PDVAL in today’s El Nacional and Reporte de la Economia, reveals that the whole affair is orders of magnitude larger than anyone could have ever imagined, with food never arriving in the country, PDVSA incurring in debt for food that never arrived and money advanced to bankrupt coops in Argentina.

The numbers revealed by the internal audit are simply staggering. It says that only 25% of the food purchased by Pdvsa ever arrived in Venezuela. Specifically, in 2008, Pdvsa purchased over one million Tons of food of which only 266 thousand Tons ever got to the country. The
cost of the one million Tons of food was 2.2 billion dollars for the period covered by the audit, implying over US$ 1.5 billion just “dissapeared”. Even more incredible, of the food that did arrive, only 54% was actually passed on to the Pdval distribution network, with the remainder found still at storage at the time of the audit. The report crudely concludes “the effective distribution of food was less han 14% of the total purchased and paid for, incurring in many cases with elevated costs of acquisition and shipping and despite this, they were not managed adequately nor distributed in efficient fashion to the Venezuelan population”

These high costs involved purchasing through only ten companies, six of which were inrermediaries, some of these were from Argentina and Brazil only because this was supposed to make things cheaper, not more expensive as it turned out at the end.

Separately, Deputies from the Podemos party have been carrying out their independent investigation of Pdval. They have determined that Pdvsa purchase food in the amount of eight billion us dollars total in 2008 and 2009. Pdval used at least 26 companies owned by Venezuelans, some military, who would buy the food abroad and the resell it at a higher price to other companies of their property which would then in turn sell it to Pdvsa at a higher price. In many cases lower quality food was passed on as higher quality in order to charge artificially high prices.

Thus, the order of magnitude of the embezzlement in Pdval is much larger than anyone thought. Food was purchased at the official rate of exchange of Bs. 2.15 per US$ but for a large fraction, it never even arrived in the country for a clean 100% gain or rip off. In the case where the food did arrive in many cases, it was overpriced and of lower quality, with Venezuelan intermediaries assigned some of these purchases by their buddies in Pdvsa (audit dixit) And even then, the food never arrived at the intended recipients.

The audit also reports higher prices per Ton for product than was commonly available in world markets, advancing US100 million to an Argentinean milk coop that was almost bankrupt with no guarantees, financing the import of food and clearly describes how a joint committee of Bariven and Cubans decided how much to import. That is called defending sovereingty under the revolution.

Despite the audit in 2008 and denunciations since that year of rotten food in storage, neither the authorities at Pdvsa, nor the Comptroller, nor the National Assembky did anything to investigate or bring those responsible to Justice. That alone is punished by Venezuelan Law. But beyond that, the Pudreval case is anoher incredible case of corruption and inefficiency, comparable to the sale of bonds into the swap market in size and which gives even more significance and meaning to the word robolution.

And there are other crimes associated, rotten and expired food has been sold as if they were fine in an attempt to to make a profit without regards or respect for the well being of Venezuelans. A Government that claims to care about the people has not even bothered with this. The robolution is indeed cynical and heartless, when it is likely to be the poor that could be affected the most by this.

Today, only three people have been detained for this case (one of which retains his seat as a Director of Pdvsa and collects salary every month), the National Assembly refuses to investigate it, the Comptroller says the opposition has overkilled the case and those truly responsible for the whole rotten mess remain in their positions of power. Impunity rules in the robolution. The Justice system only persecutes the enemies of the Government, while those raping the country roam free.

Poor Venezuela that it has had to suffer this fake revolution!!!

Thanks to Alek, the report is right here