MEXICO CITY (AP) — Construction of a monument that Mexico City residents say resembles a giant cream-filled wafer was soured by overspending, inflated prices and building code violations, an audit has found.
Formally known as the Pillar of Light, the 104-meter (343-foot) high structure on the capital's emblematic Reforma Avenue was supposed to cost around $35 million, instead tax payers shelled out $100 million, according to the report released Wednesday by the audit unit of Congress.
The audit found that Mexico's anti-corruption agency failed to oversee spending and ignored costly errors during its construction.
Previous comments by federal officials and contractors had revealed that the monument's construction was plagued with wrongdoings and overspending. But the audit also found that the Public Administration Department, the anti-corruption watchdog, ignored violations of construction codes and full compliance with spending regulations.
The monument, which is made of a series of columns sandwiched by panels of quartz backlit by LED lights, was built to commemorate the bicentennial of Mexican independence. It was meant as a gleaming symbol of hope and inspiration in a country beset by drug violence.
But its construction became a topic of debate in Mexico and it is now commonly known as "suavicrema," a cream-filled cookie with a gridded surface. The tower has also earned nicknames like "the Monument of Shame" and "the Monument of Mexican Dependence."