DETAILS EMERGE IN ORIHUELA PP HEAD CORRUPTION CASE

Following last week´s news that the current head of the Partido Popular in Orihuela, Pepa Ferrando, is to be charged with corruption, with offences relating to alleged irregularities in the procurement of promotional material for the FITUR international tourism festival between 2008 and 2011, during her period as the councillor for tourism during the last administration of Orihuela, further details have been revealed this week as to a number of invoices and services being questioned.

The complaint against Ferrando was filed some ten months ago, with members of both the psoe and Los Verdes reporting their findings to the courts. This week, Carolina Gracia of the PSOE, criticised the bill for 6,960 euro to Benabarra Audio Video SL for hiring a 50 inch TV with DVD and sound for a single week, complaining that the money could have been used to buy 8 television sets which could have subsequently been used in public buildings, especially as the TV provided was “the same that anyone can have in their living room”, according to Gracia.

Similarly, the 8.262,99 paid to Altea company Marestand SL, who delivered, placed and assembled a bonsai tree for one exhibition seems somewhat extravagant, especially as this amount is the equivalent of about 10 months wages for a worker earning the minimum wage in spain.

As for the promotional stand, questions have been asked as to why the company Exporigging SL were paid 11,892.37 euro for the installation f a temporary ceiling, with mirrored fittings and other features, but the same thing in another year cost 17,715.60 euro.

There is a similar discrepancy in the cost of lighting, although details of the actual provision are not readily available, the amount of lighting was the same provided for both the event that cost 11,990 euro, and one that faced a bill for 15,897.43 euro.

Within the procurement procedure of the town hall, should the cost of a service be 18,000 euro or more, then the provision must be put to public tender. Anything of 17,999 euro and less does not require such an open bidding process, and the councillors are free to award the contract without consultation.

The reason for the case being raised against Ferrando is that collectively, putting the invoices together, the cost of providing the relevant equipment to present the municipality in FITUR comes to just under 60,000 euro, which would clearly have required the tender process to be fulfilled, but by splitting the provisions into individual elements, the procurement process has been bypassed, without any auditable process which would have highlighted the anomalies that have arisen, and saved the tax payer´s money.

Ferrando is refusing calls for her resignation as she protests here innocence, and has asked the judge for a speedy trial, in which she is convinced that her innocence will be confirmed. Ferrando is the sixth member of the current Partido Popular team in Orihuela to be facing charges.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/43000/

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