Sunday, April 2

The Police confirms “irregular payments” to the PP of Almería for the work of the mammoth sports pavilion of Carboneras

The Police again point to the PP of Almería as the great node of a dense network of corruption that for years rigged competitions, inflated prices and distributed gifts between officials and politicians, depleting the public coffers of various administrations.

The investigation of the alleged box B of the PP of Almería has been stuck in an instruction court for eight years

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This is stated in a report recently sent to the Investigating Court 3 of Almería, which investigates the alleged collection of bribes for years by technicians and politicians in several municipalities of Almería and in the city itself. Provincial Council of Almeriato which Andalucía has had access.

The report analyzes a receipt that reflects “irregular payments to the Popular Party, within the Diputación de Almería”, linked to the alteration of the public tender and the award of the work of the sports center of the municipality of Carboneras. For this work, the construction company would have paid 8,500 euros to the “PP of Almería (Deputation)”, as reflected in the document. At that time, the supramunicipal entity was chaired by Luis Rogelio Rodríguez-Comendador.

A receipt with “irregular payments” to the Popular Party

At the request of the judge, the investigators have analyzed the adjudication of the Carboneras pavilion, a mammoth structure with five floors of 9,604 square meters and 1,700 seats in a town that currently has 8,183 inhabitants. In total, around 15 million euros of public money has been spent on it in the last two decades, according to what various councilors have been telling.

Although the City Council (then governed by the PSOE) was the promoter, the Almería Provincial Council awarded the first works, which began on February 2, 1999 and did not end until January 10, 2010. Even then it could not open: according to then the local press, the City Council started up the site and in two days spent 1,200 euros on electricity. Maintaining it was unaffordable for the town and that was closed again.

The researchers believe that everything surrounding the construction of this pavilion points to the collection of bribes. Their conclusion is that the process was designed to benefit the construction company Hispano Almería, something that they put in relation to the subsequent payment of the construction company to the Almeria PP. They have a receipt, with the annotation “B”, which documents “irregular payments to the Popular Party, within the Diputación de Almería” linked to “work 336”. That number coincides with the file of the huge sports center.

They point out that the dates of the receipt coincide (February 8, 2002) and the end of the phases of the work awarded by the Diputación de Almería, “which could be an indicator of the existence of bribes” by Hispano Almería SA towards charges public. In addition, there is a second I received for 12,000 euros, paid by Hispano Almería in favor of the municipal technical architect, signatory of two successive reports related to a promotion of 28 homes: one unfavorable to the building permit, and a subsequent favorable one.

The conclusions of the report support the thesis maintained by the Police in their investigation of the Hispano Almería (or Términus) case: that in a period that spans at least from 1998 to 2009, various administrations governed by the Almería PP (and in this case, the Diputación de Almería) irregularly awarded public works contracts to the construction company Hispano Almería. The construction company was grateful for the commission by paying technicians or politicians involved in the award or, directly, part of the party’s campaign.

There are at least one hundred and forty receipts that would reflect the supposed payment with a public work awarded by some administration governed by the Almeria PP. However, the Mediterranean Anticorruption and Transparency Associationwho denounced the matter in 2014, believes that this system lasted longer, even after Hispano Almería was declared bankrupt.

“Serious irregularities” in the award

In the award of the first phases of the work of the pavilion, carried out in the Diputación de Almería by negotiated procedure (that is, without public tender, despite being a common work), “serious irregularities” were committed, including its cutting up artificial, which avoided control by the Court of Auditors, according to the researchers. For the following phases, awarded by the City Council of Carboneras, a contest was held, but sui generis: the economic solvency of the candidates was not justified, nor was their technical assessment, nor were the award criteria weighted. In addition, halfway through the work the prices were revised for their benefit, something prohibited by the contract.

The researchers warn that the file, processed urgently (without justification for it), lacks mandatory documentation. They believe that the entire process is “governed by arbitrariness” and point out that “the serious anomalies observed (…) go beyond the omission of the duty of care.” They are not mistakes, she says, but a plan to benefit the construction company.

The report, issued by Group II on Money Laundering and dated February 8, is now in the hands of the judge who has been investigating for almost eight years 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 criminal organization and group in several municipalities governed by the PP in the province of Almería.

The summary has been divided into three separate pieces: one affects Roquetas de Mar, another La Mojonera and another the administrations under the jurisdiction of the city of Almería (Provincial Council, Níjar, Félix, Carboneras, Vícar), which is the that this report has been incorporated.

A pavilion impossible to maintain

Cafeteria-restaurant, an auditorium for 400 people, a 385-square-meter gym with a weight room, squash courts, a climbing wall… The Carboneras pavilion was built in style, without realizing whether it was really useful for the municipality, or whether it was reasonable to spend money on such infrastructure. The charcoal burners have been able to use little or nothing, given the difficulties of assuming the cost of maintaining it and starting it up. For years what has been tried is to give a use to the facilities that the municipality and its inhabitants can afford.

The UDEF itself emphasizes that the work lasted “excessively” and its cost exceeded “the limits of what is reasonable.” “The ‘eternal’ Carboneras sports center may be partially opened at the end of the year,” said the Ideal newspaper in June 2016. It was not like that either. In 2017 the Diputación de Almería reopened a tender (with a budget of 400,000 euros) for some “conditioning and adaptation” works that would allow it to be put into use. The works were carried out in 2018, almost twenty years after starting. In 2020, the Plenary approved the regulations and public prices to use the pool, although it was not yet equipped. “The municipal swimming pool of Carboneras, about to open its doors”, headlined La Voz de Almería, on December 16.