The head of the Court of Instruction number four of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, María de los Ángeles Lorenzo-Cáceres, investigates the management of the president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, Pedro Martín (PSOE), in the transfer of the activity of the Febles Campos Hospital –a a center dependent on the Insular Corporation where patients are cared for, especially the elderly with chronic and mental illnesses, to another residence in the Diocesan Seminary managed by Clece, a company of the ACS group, chaired by Florentino Pérez.
The investigation, which also affects the vice president of the Cabildo, the leader of Ciudadanos, Enrique Arriaga; and two socialist island councilors, Marián Franquet (Social Action) and Nauzet Gugliotta (Participation), began after a complaint by the Febles Campos works council for alleged prevarication, embezzlement of public funds and prohibited negotiations with public officials.
The activity of a public hospital is transferred to a private tenant manager of the Nivarian diocese
The judge and prosecutor Tania Pérez maintain that behind the complaint filed by the workers there are “opaque circumstances” or at least “abnormal” to open a criminal investigation and accurately determine the alleged crimes committed. Today the appearances of the defendants begin after the magistrate opened the preliminary proceedings in September and rejected the resources to file the case. In the Palace of Justice of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Marián Franquet is summoned today to testify as a defendant, who as a Social Action counselor is president of the Institute of Social and Health Care (IASS), to which Febles Campos belongs.
The judge has also called to declare today as defendants Yazmina León, manager of the IASS, and Francisco Lázaro, regional director in the Canary Islands of the Clece company that negotiated the contract for the residence of the Seminary with the Cabildo. They are the first to be called to testify in a judicial investigation that also extends to the other three members of the Governing Council of the IASS who on June 17, 2021 supported the operation -Miguel Montero, until December Director General of the Dependency of the Canary Government for We can; Ignacio Rodríguez Jorge, socialist mayor of La Matanza, councilor representing the Federation of Municipalities of the Canary Islands (Fecam); Isabel León, general technical secretary of the Ministry of Health, and Víctor Oliva, diocesan bursar of the Bishopric of Tenerife, an entity that has been renting part of the Seminary from Clece since 2018.
The magistrate -who already on October 5 in a car confirmed enough evidence to investigate an alleged “administrative prevarication”- and the prosecutor verify “opaque or at least abnormal circumstances” in the complex formula chosen by the Cabildo to solve the problem of Febles Campos socio-sanitary hospital, a center with deteriorated and obsolete buildings. The facilities, with serious structural defects, have to be demolished urgently. A century old, a new hospital needs to be built. Meanwhile, another building has to be found to relocate services and patients.
For years, the transfer of the Febles Campos activity to a new temporary location, while waiting to build the new centers, has been one of the Cabildo’s concerns. How it has been executed is what now worries the judge and the prosecutor.
A high official of the Ministry of Health and the mayor of La Matanza are also denounced
The judicial investigation begins after a complaint from the IASS company committee and the Canary Workers’ Assembly union. Five months ago -September 2021-, the representatives of the workers of the IASS, the Cabildo body that manages public services for the most vulnerable on the Island, filed a complaint for alleged irregularities in the hiring of the management company Clece of the dependencies of the Seminary of La Laguna in which the elders of the Febles Campos will be relocated.
After admitting the complaint, the head of the court of instruction number four is now investigating why the Cabildo has agreed to pay Clece an “abusive” price, some 20 million euros over ten years, for the management of the new center for the elderly Seminar when these facilities are, in principle, provisional, while the Febles Campos is rehabilitated for five years, in an award that “has not been submitted to public tender” and according to conditions that have been modified “in collusion with the company Clece to adjust them to their economic requirements”.
The new center of the Seminar has fewer places than the current ones, even those established in the initial bases of the announcement published by the Cabildo de Tenerife in which it was looking for a provisional building to house 150 social-health beds for chronic patients, when the patients of the Febles Fields need at least 240 seats.
Pedro Martín, president of the Cabildo de Tenerife, is among the defendants because the works council warned him, along with the rest of the island’s councilors and technicians before the Governing Council was held on June 7, 2021, of possible criminal liability if they approved subrogation to Clece.
Martín was not summoned by the Governing Council -he is chaired by his counselor Marián Franquet- but he received up to five letters in which the committee warned him of the alleged irregularities. The president of the Cabildo did not answer any of them, according to the complaint. Despite these warnings from the works council, directors and technicians approved the conditions of the contract with Clece in the Governing Council.
The works council describes the operation as “blatant and rude fraud” in favor of Clece and “at the expense of the public treasury.” In his complaint, he concludes that there are indications of the crimes of prevarication -approving resolutions knowing that they are unfair-, embezzlement of public funds -improper management or misappropriation of public resources-, unfair administration -excess of an authority in the powers to administer what is public – and prohibited negotiations with public officials.
The complaint from the IASS works council stops at various points of subrogation to Clece, with credible documentary evidence for both the prosecutor and the judge to open an investigation. One of the most relevant facts is how the Cabildo undertakes to pay 980,000 euros each year to Clece, just for the lease of part of the Seminary, when this company pays only 290,000 euros for rent to the Bishopric of Tenerife for the facilities. In other words, the Cabildo pays 300% more for the same concept to the company than it pays the Bishopric. Ten million in ten years that come out of the public coffers to compensate for the subletting of a private company.
The judge also analyzes other expenses that can reach ten million. The Cabildo assumes all the refurbishment works for the Clece residence, taxes and licences, the costs of supplies, maintenance, common expenses -gardens, surveillance- and all those generated by the operation of the center, from equipment and furniture to the hiring of personnel, supplies and insurance. Everything.
The magistrate already sees at least one alleged prevarication after the complaint of the works council
For the works council of the IASS, they are “disproportionate economic conditions with the aim of defrauding the public treasury” typical of “a complex business contrary to the public interest” and tailored to the company. The judicial doubts try to resolve the suitability of an operation for which such a high rent is paid for so many years, a decade, and some conditioning works are paid for, without a tender, which will be owned by a private company.
The complaint emphasizes that during the procedure neither the adjudication of the new center nor the works for its conditioning were put out to public tender, which are also entrusted to the ACS group company itself. That is why “a fraud” of the laws that regulate public administrations is observed. “If any of the current residences on the Island were offered to meet these business expectations, and obtain benefits without doing any work and also for 10 years, all the companies in the sector would have presented themselves, making their health centers available to the IASS », is exposed in the complaint.
The Cabildo de Tenerife has spent years looking for provisional alternatives to Febles Campos, a hospital located in the Salamanca district of Santa Cruz. It is also looking for a way to open other centers with which to solve the serious lack of public places. Just a month ago, Marián Franquet, the counselor summoned today to testify, gave the updated data on the waiting list for social and health places: 7,100 people from Tenerife, the largest queue in the history of the IASS social and health institute.
This judicial investigation also comes at a critical moment for nursing homes due to the catastrophe caused by the covid-19 pandemic in Spanish nursing homes. More than 30,900 elderly people who lived in nursing homes in Spain have died from the coronavirus according to the data registered until January 14.
Pedro Martin (PSOE)
President of the Cabildo
The complaint from the IASS works council ensures that Pedro Martín did not respond to 5 letters that warned of alleged irregularities.
Enrique Arriaga (C.S.)
Vice President Council
He appears as a defendant for voting in favor of contracting care for the elderly to the Clece company in the Governing Council of the IASS (21-7-21).
Marian Franquet (PSOE)
Counselor Social Action
She also voted in favor of the operation with the company Clece on the Governing Council of the IASS, which she led when she was also president of the IASS.
Nauzet Gugliotta (PSOE)
He also voted in favor of the company Clece taking charge of the elders of Febles Campos in the Governing Council of the IASS that is being investigated.
Miguel Montero (we can)
Former Unit Director
He supported the operation in the Governing Council as director of the Dependency of the Canary Islands, a position he has just left.
General Secretary. Ministry of Health
She represented the Ministry of Health on the Governing Council of the IASS as technical general secretary.
Ignacio Rodriguez (PSOE)
Mayor of La Matanza
He represented the Federation of Municipalities of the Canary Islands (Fecam) in the Governing Council that approved the operation.
Director of the Clece company in the Canary Islands
He led the negotiations that culminated in the approval of the hiring of his company by the Cabildo.
Treasurer of the Bishopric
The Bishopric of Tenerife charges Clece 290,000 euros in rent per year for the facilities that are going to be passed on to the elders of Febles Campos.
Manager of the Social and Health Care Institute (IASS) of the Cabildo de Tenerife
The manager of the IASS, Yazmina León, visited the facilities of the La Laguna Seminary, where the elderly from Febles Campos will be transferred, and supervises from the beginning all the processing of the subrogation of the care of these elderly to the company Clece de Florentino Perez. It is the operation that is now investigating justice.