Amid corruption rumors, Human Capital Ministry files complaint against former official

Argentine media reported that it is related to an alleged embezzlement scheme involving an international organization

Human Capital Minister Sandra Pettovello has filed a legal complaint against Pablo de la Torre, the ministry’s former Childhood, Adolescence, and Family Secretary. De la Torre was fired on Thursday amid a scandal involving undelivered food to soup kitchens.

Pettovello’s complaint, however, is not related to the undelivered food but rather to an alleged embezzlement scheme involving ministry contracts. According to Argentine media reports, these contracts were issued in some cases to people who did not exist and in others to collect kickbacks from those obtaining them. She filed the complaint before the Anti-Corruption Bureau, which was then forwarded to a criminal court.

The Herald reached out to a ministry spokesperson seeking confirmation but did not receive an immediate response.

The questioned contracts are related to an agreement between the ministry and the Organization of Ibero-American States (OEI, by its Spanish acronym) intended to promote cooperation between governments.

The OEI released a communiqué acknowledging that it has agreements with the ministry, saying they are meant “to improve quality of life for the most vulnerable sectors of society.” The organization mentioned two agreements, one for “food purchases” and another for what they called “temporary personnel services,” which they arranged with the Childhood, Adolescence, and Family Secretariat.

According to the OEI, the agreement to buy food allowed savings close to 40% (over AR$2.5 billion, or US$2.5 million). They stated that the service providers were hired based on what the secretariat led by De la Torre required.

“The secretariat was the sole responsible for selecting profiles,” the release pointed out, adding that the OEI was limited to implementing “decisions and procedures” established by the government agency. 

“Any inconsistencies detected in the processes are communicated so that the secretariat can determine a course of action, reaffirming the OEI’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni confirmed that Pettovello had filed the complaint in his Friday conference, saying it was “the right thing to do when faced with a person who displayed a lack of transparency in certain matters.” He also hinted that De la Torre was not the only involved party.

On Saturday, De la Torre denied any wrongdoing in a post on X. “I have a clean conscience and clean hands. I am proud to have fought together with Minister Petovello against the poverty managers,” he said, referencing social movements.

“I will not be intimidated by Kirchnerists who have infiltrated the government,” he wrote, without naming the people he was referencing. 

“I’d rather die before being dirty,” he added.

The day prior, his brother, Joaquín de la Torre, a provincial senator in Buenos Aires’ legislature, left the  La Libertad Avanza bloc to form a one-person bloc.

President Milei backed Pettovello on his X account. He shared one post saying she was “one of the best ministers in history” and another accusing unnamed parties of trying to “take her down” so they could eventually “weaken” him.


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