Saturday, April 1

Traps, lies and corruption at Puerta del Sol

For a few moments, even the Popular Party itself echoed an open secret in Madrid: the Community Government has used the pandemic as the perfect alibi to fill the pockets of its president, Isabel Díaz Ayuso, with public money. Now, even the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office has opened an investigation into the case after the documentation presented by Más Madrid and the rest of the opposition groups.

Using the institutions as a mechanism to do business and plunder public money is, and has been, sadly, a constant in the successive governments of the Popular Party in the Community. However, today we are faced with a case that collides with the last and most precious moral fiber of our societies. And it is that these contracts were awarded to the Ayuso environment precisely in the days of the pandemic in which a greater number of deaths was registered, when we were in our homes suffering, handcuffed by anguish and uncertainty. A few days of shock in which relatives could not even hug each other to bury their dead. Meanwhile, in the hospitals we lived in an unsustainable situation and many people suffered from loneliness, fear and despair.

As he has learned from Esperanza Aguirre and Javier Fernández Lasquetty, Ayuso has found in emergency hiring an infallible method to use public funds to enrich people close to him. Money that should have been used to deal with the ravages of the pandemic.

It is a simple mechanism: to respond to the pandemic situation, controls, inspections and supervision of public procurement have had to be reduced. This relaxation has been systematically used by the Government of the Community of Madrid to award million-dollar contracts, often without being able to justify it seriously and rigorously. It is precisely this formula that allows them, today, to continue granting millionaire contracts around the Zendal Hospital. However, in the case of Tomás Díaz Ayuso they have had to refine the procedure a little more.

Despite this laxity in contracting controls, there are still some minimum standards that must be met even in a scenario of total exceptionality such as the pandemic, such as the prohibition of contracting with relatives of members of the Government. It is here that Daniel Alcázar appears, a childhood friend of the Ayusos and administrator of Priviet Sportive SL, the company graced with a millionaire contract for masks despite not having experience in that sector. This is how, using his friend as a figurehead, Tomás Díaz Ayuso dodges the lukewarm existing controls and can thus receive his precious bite of thousands of euros. But it is also that we have learned that the masks were purchased above the market price, were of lower quality than expected and arrived late.

It will be the courts that clarify what degree of illegality has been committed with this and with so many other suspicious contracts. And there is no doubt that they will eventually do so. But political responsibilities go further. Parallel to legality is ethics and exemplarity. And these facts are inadmissible for a Government whose responsibility, in moments of anxiety and panic, is to take care of the population and offer confidence.

While the good people of Madrid filled the solidarity pantries, offered to make purchases for their most vulnerable neighbors or donated homemade masks, Ayuso took the opportunity to continue favoring his own at the expense of everyone’s health. It is likely that the internal wars of the PP and the maelstrom of information engulf this case, but we cannot forget that all this happened on April 1, 2020, the same day that our country registered the highest number of deaths from Covid.