Sworn Accounts: An analysis of changes in the wealth of Lima’s mayors

Sworn Accounts: An analysis of changes in the wealth of Lima’s mayors

Organisation: Ojo Publico (Peru)

Publication Date: 04/07/2015

Description

The Ojo Público team developed a journalistic application about changes in wealth of the 63 mayors of the 43 districts of Lima who were in power over the last eleven years and of the 674 candidates who stood for these positions in the Peru’s municipal and regional elections on 5 October 2014. Many candidates were seeking reelection after already more than ten years in office. Others were former municipal authorities attempting to return to power in a context in which local and regional governments in Peru have greater resources than in previous decades. The central theme of journalistic application known as Cuentas Juradas (Sworn Accounts) was an analysis of changes in the wealth that each of the 63 mayors of metropolitan Lima reported in their affidavits over the last eleven years in order to assess their level of transparency while they were in power (15 of the 43 district mayors in office were reelected). It should also be mentioned that a considerable number of these elected officials face, or at some point have faced, allegations of corruption. The wealth analysis also included the 674 candidates for the 43 district mayoral races and candidates for mayor of Lima Province. Information was analyzed for each regarding assets and income declared in their resume and presented to the National Jury of Elections (JNE, in Spanish) in order to nominate the position. The journalistic application Cuentas Juradas (Sworn Accounts) consists of a search engine in which any citizen can seek information about the wealth of its mayor and preferred candidate, verify its accuracy and report suspected cases of asset concealment or illegal wealth creation. The ordering of data about the wealth of the mayors permitted both in-depth investigation of their assets and better organizing of the journalistic resources for more targeted information processing. Much of the data uncovered and compared with other information sources was part of Ojo Público’s reporting, which revealed contradictions and inconsistencies in the wealth of a dozen mayors. This led to the instigation, by the Anticorruption Attorney and the Prosecutor, of investigations over alleged wealth imbalance. The news special combined journalistic activities, data mining, programming and the design of a publicly accessible online application. Overall coordination was undertaken by the journalist Fabiola Torres. The working team consisted of the journalists Nelly Luna, Oscar Castilla and David Hidalgo. The programmers were Antonio Cucho and Cesar Soplín. More than a thousand sworn statements of assets and income were processed and analyzed for the 63 mayors who exercised power in Lima and its 43 districts over the past eleven years.

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