Thursday, May 12, 2016

20 years in prison for the ex mayors of Orihuela

Angel Fenoll had the contract for garbage collection for Orihuela in 1992. Three years later, José Manuel Medina became mayor of the city and up until 2000, there was no competition for renewal of that contract. We now understand that Fenoll paid 7 million pesetas for that privilege.

Five years later, there was a rift between Fenoll and Medina which meant a change of tack and so Fenoll favoured Monica Lorente instead. When the new contract was awarded to Urbaser, Fenoll claimed it was rigged. Lorente delayed the signing and so she became mayor in 2007 thanks to the support of Colsur (Fenoll's company). The PP allegedly provided Fenoll with the information needed to ensure his tender was successful, His companies then held the contract for waste management until 2012 and the election of Monserrate Guillen as mayor.

The case, so named Brugal, has been complicated but at last, the Anticorruption Prosecutor, Pablo Romero is ready take it to court. He is asking for a 12 year prison sentence for José Manuel Medina (breach of trust, fraud and bribery) and eight years for Monica Lorente (fraud). These two were the mayors who managed the waste collection contract and were also responsible for the Zonal Waste Plan for the Vega Baja which involved many of the municipalities (not including Bigastro).

Romero is also asking for a 37 years prison sentence for Angel Fenoll (breach of trust, fraud, bribery, influence peddling, extortion, coercion, conspiracy, insider trading and electoral crime). A further 30 politicians, businessmen, relatives, figureheads and City Council technicians are implicated. In all there are ten crimes mentioned; conspiracy, bribery, extortion, breach of trust, disclosure of secrets, insider trading, officials prohibited negotiations, fraud, electoral crime and coercion.

After such a lengthy investigation, with taped evidence of conversions that took place, you might imagine that this will be an easy one to win. However, experience tells us that is not necessarily  going to happen. Several cases have been brought against the former mayors of Bigastro and in each one the prosecutor was asking for long custodial sentences. The result though was no more than a ban from holding public office.

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