José Manuel Medina

The courts have revisited an historic case in which a former mayor of Orihuela, José Manuel Medina, was listed under the original investigation.

The case, which was nicknamed “caso Orihuela”, investigated alleged irregularities during the administration of Medina, resulting in more than a dozen summaries, most of which were closed, although one of them resulted in his conviction for breach of trust, for which he was sentenced to 7 years disqualification from office, a ruling currently under the appeals process with the Provincial Court of Alicante.

Now, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor has reopened one of the filed cases, which investigates if Medina concealed the ordering and paying for services by the City, in which three companies are cited, all of which were regular contractors of the municipality, all of whom have been paid thousands of euro for services provided directly to the town hall, rather than the work being tendered for by public submission.

Numerous commentators have indicated in the past that Medina maintained a “very close” relationship with some of those businesses, some of whom were inherited from the previous legislatures because they were supplying common services such as Christmas lights, which would, under the normal practice, have been awarded for a period of a number of years, as it is seasonal. This kind of long-term provisional contract is one of the elements that the current government, under the Los Verdes mayoral management of Monserrate Guillén, are trying to end.

Guillén was instrumental in raising awareness of the case in 2005, but the original proceedings only seemed to point to Medina. Now, the Anti-Corruption prosecutor has not only asked for Median to return to give evidence, but also wants to talk to current serving PP members, Araceli Vilella and José Antonio Aniorte, Aniorte who had previously held the post of Councillor for the Coast.

José Manuel Medina Cañizares took over from his Partido Popular colleague, Luis Fernando Cartagena Travesedo, in 1995, to be replaced by Mónica Lorente, also of the PP, in 2007, before the current government team took over in 2011.

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