Friday, January 28

The judge imputes the Andalusian Minister of Agriculture in the case of the alleged bites of the PP of Almería

The court investigating the Hispano Almería case, in which the alleged rigging of public tenders in exchange for bites in Roquetas de Mar, La Mojonera or the Almería Provincial Council is being investigated, has called Carmen Crespo, current counselor of Agriculture of the Junta de Andalucía. Crespo’s imputation occurs due to her participation as president of the Association of Tourism Promoters of the West in the management of subsidies in La Mojonera, as reflected in a UDEF report incorporated into the cause in September 2020.

The judge chops up the case of the alleged commissions aimed at politicians, technicians and electoral campaigns of the PP in Almería

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The order of the investigating court 3 of Almería, advanced by El País and to which this media has had access, cites Crespo and 19 other people as investigated, some of whom had already been cited previously in the case. This is the case, for example, of José Cara, former mayor of La Mojonera, previously indicted, and once appointed president of the Andalusian Institute of Agriculture, a position in which he was dependent on Crespo. He was terminated in January 2021.

In the case of Crespo, the appearance is scheduled for next April 8, at 11:30 in the morning. However, it is unlikely to happen, since Crespo is certified by her status as a counselor before the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia.

The Museum of Agriculture in La Mojonera

Judge Ana María Vico investigates the alleged commission of crimes against the Public Treasury, money laundering, embezzlement of public funds, prevarication, bribery, influence peddling, embezzlement, prohibited negotiations with authorities or officials and of organization and criminal group in several municipalities governed by the PP in the province of Almería.

Account for this with an extensive report in which the UDEF documented the existence of receipts from which it was deduced the existence of illegal commissions paid by the construction company Hispano Almería to municipal technicians and political positions of the PP of Roquetas de Mar, Níjar, Carboneras, Vícar , La Mojonera and Diputación de Almería. According to the investigators, part of those bites were used to finance electoral campaigns of the PP of Almería, led at that time by Gabriel Amat, also the mayor of Roquetas de Mar. However, Amat has never been called to testify as being investigated. This is a case that has progressed very slowly since it started more than eight years ago.

The UDEF report reveals, among many others, the file for the construction of the “Museum of Agriculture”, financed by the City 21 Environmental Sustainability Program. According to the researchers, Crespo (then president of the Association of Promotores Turísticos del Poniente, in her capacity as mayor of Adra) presented a letter in 2008 sending the request for help and the supporting report for the project “Sustainable Tourism Strategy for the Poniente Almeriense region”.

As part of this strategy, which had a total budget of 3.4 million euros, a Museum of Agriculture was contemplated, which was finally included in the Action Plan a year later. Its cost: 500,000 euros, of which 343,000 (68.7%) were subsidized.

In 2011 the file for the contracting of works began, awarded in May 2012 to a UTE in which Hispano Almería was. However, the UTE did not present the necessary documentation, and ended up losing the award. Seven months later, the account auditor reviews the supporting account of the grants for this project, and makes objections. Specifically, it indicates “payments that it has not been able to verify.” In addition, the record of the contracting of works was also censored by the controller, despite which the mayor (José Cara) approved the contracting through the negotiated procedure without publicity.

Crespo had ceased to be mayor of Adra in December 2011, when she was appointed a government delegate.

PP-Citizens Pact: “Immediate Separation” of accused public offices

Crespo’s accusation collides with her status as a registered person before the Superior Court of Justice of Andalusia, and that is the body that could call her to testify. However, it has the potential to open a waterway in the government coalition PP-Ciudadanos.

The statutes of the popular collect, in its article 22, that when the party knows that an “affiliate” has been called to declare as being investigated, the Rights and Guarantees Committee will open an informative file, which will become disciplinary if a trial is opened oral. Only in “cases of flagrant crimes of corruption”, the committee “in view of the seriousness of the facts may determine the suspension of functions or membership.”

However, the PP-Ciudadanos government pact is much stricter, and provides as a second measure the “zero tolerance with corruption”: “Ciudadanos and the Popular Party commit to the immediate separation of public positions in all Andalusian institutions , both regional and local, that have been or are formally charged for crimes of corruption, until the final decision of the judicial body ”.