“I was not mayor for 16 years to do canchanchanadas.” This was one of the last phrases that the ex-mayor of Los Silos Santiago Martín pronounced yesterday at the end of the trial on the Provincial Court, where he is accused by a crime against public administration in media contest with another of prevarication, for him lifting of objections to pay one of the water supply companies. Martín expressed his sentiment with passion, before the presiding magistrate of the Court invited him to moderate your ways. The former mayor was an elected candidate of the PSOE from 2003 to 2019 and today he is out of politics.
The prosecutor affirmed that the facts for which he is accused were sufficiently substantiated, to the extent that signed the lifting of the Intervention objections to pay bills to the company Gestión de Aguas 2000, in the absence of a legal award of the service, applying the formula of the minor contract, which was not adequate, and, in addition, he was aware that the procedure did not comply with the Law.
The defense put forward the thesis of the Difficulty in applying the Public Procurement regulations when managing municipalities with few officials and without training to draw up a list of award conditions in a matter as complex as water, with a difficult terrain, few inhabitants and a dispersion of neighborhoods that goes from the summit to the sea. And where, furthermore, “it has always been done that way.” The complaint against the former Silense governor was filed by a water company against the objections raised to the company Gestión de Aguas 2000 exclusively, but not against those that benefited other firms that also sold water resources to the council.
At the trial, Martín acknowledged at all times that raised these objections to be able to guarantee the water supply to the neighbors’ houses and other resourcesSuch as a nursery school, a nursing home, schools or the municipal swimming pool, for example. According to the former mayor, in the absence of a legal award of the service, he spoke with several officials to try to carry out a list of conditions and a public tender, but said workers acknowledged that they did not have the knowledge to do so. And, when he tried to find external companies to do this work, the answer was that they were not financially interested in doing it for a municipality with the characteristics of Los Silos and that, “If he took out a contest, it would be void.”
Another of the arguments put forward by the former president of the corporation was that the municipality has seven water reservoirs at very different altitudes. And that means that no supplier company in the area has, by itself, the technical capacity to supply them all. In other words, two or three companies would always have to be used to meet the demand.
«I did what I understood I had to do, not to give money to a family member, but to attend to an essential service », Martin pointed out. He clarified that, when discussing the matter with the administrative clerk who acted as accidental secretary-controller, she told him that there were only two ways to act under these conditions: “or raise objections and pay; or not paying, which would generate very negative consequences for the City Council and also for me ”, since the water suppliers could report non-payment of a service provided. He also blamed the Adjustment Plan applied by the Government of Rajoy that the council could not spend amounts of money on the actions it wanted, such as hiring an external specialist to write the aforementioned document to put out the water service to tender.
An official who worked as an accidental secretary recalled that, based on a minor contract, a company could not receive more than 18,000 euros per year in one or different invoices, according to the previous Law. However, there were months in which only one of the payments exceeded that amount. At the moment, the legislation prevents exceeding 15,000 euros of payment for a minor contract in one year. This worker affirmed, to questions from the prosecutor, that the drafting of the award conditions “could be outsourced”, but there is no record of it being done in Martín’s stage in the Mayor’s Office.
According to this official, in the middle of this year, the new government group of the City Council He “signed a minor contract” with a company to draw up the specifications. And the current secretary-auditor confirmed that such a measure was adopted last July to try to solve the problem of supply payments. This manifestation of both witnesses became a reinforcement of the position put forward by the prosecutor, who, during the presentation of her final conclusions, raised the question of why such a procedure had not been carried out before.