Saturday, November 22, 2008

More go to prison

It seems that this part of Spain has entered into a new era where the "old ways" will no longer be tolerated. The days when corruption in local councils was well known and accepted are on their way out as town after town comes under the scrutiny of the Guardia Civil.

You read almost daily about new arrests; all are related to town planning irregularities. The recurrent theme seems to be of companies being awarded concessions to build in return for bribes to council officials - the infamous passing of "brown envelopes".

The latest victim is Librilla, a sleepy little agricultural municipality of about 4,000 inhabitants located on the edge of the Sierra Espuña in the region of Murcia.

The town council, which only had 11 members - six PP and five PSOE, is now without its mayor and councillor for Urbanism. Both were sent to prison on Friday by judge Andrés Carrillo in court no 6 , Murcia.

The pair of them, along with others, were arrested on Tuesday and Thursday by members the Guardia Civil in Murcia. The crimes they are accused of relate to the town's PGOU. In this case the people involved are suspected of benefiting by about 7,000,000€.

Looking at all this as an outsider, you can't help but conclude that a system for local government that allows these sort of swindles to take place must be flawed. Catching these people after the event is all well and good; surely it would have been better to have control mechanisms in place to prevent these swindles from happening (this is just my opinion you understand).

One instance of this sort of crime is a problem, this many becomes a major embarrassment.

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