The City Council of La Laguna has decided to appear in the so-called Reparos case as a private accusation harmed by the facts described by the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office around 160 service contracts extended to numerous companies by that consistory without any legal endorsement during the period between 2011 and 2019, under the mayoralties of Fernando Clavijo and José Alberto Díaz, both from the Canarian Coalition. The Consistory has made this decision after submitting all the documentation requested by the judge to the investigating court of the case and verifying that the amount of these contracts would exceed 76 million euros.
The inspector and three other high officials of La Laguna ratify before the judge the illegality of the contracts in the Reparos case
The complaint was filed in 2018 by councilor Santiago Pérez, currently in the government group for Avante La Laguna. The case, which has progressed slowly all these years in the Investigating Court number 4 of that city, keeps under investigation, among other people, the current senator Fernando Clavijo, former president of the Canary Islands (2015-2019), but due to his time as mayor from La Laguna between 2011 and 2015; former mayor José Alberto Díaz, also from the Canarian Coalition, and former councilor Javier Abreu, then in the PSOE, now close to the nationalists. The Santa Cruz de Tenerife Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office presented a 156-page report to that court a year ago, pointing out the last two former mayors of the municipality as possible perpetrators of a crime of continued prevarication. The City Council, which will now exercise the private prosecution, also appreciates the possible crime of embezzlement.
Perhaps it is the renewal of the contract with the company responsible for cleaning and garbage collection, Urbaser, the most striking of all the files that are analyzed in that court. In addition to extending the term of the concession for six years beyond the legally foreseen extension, the City Council exempted that company from the contractual obligation to renew 34 of the 46 vehicles that made up the fleet, which was to become municipal ownership by finished the contract. In this way, not only was there considerable cost savings for the concessionaire by operating a service whose validity had already expired, but at its end a fleet of specialized vehicles that had already become obsolete was delivered to the City Council.
The files sent by the City Council to the court include the continuous objections of the Municipal Intervention, in addition to legal reports that discouraged the operations that are now being criminally investigated. In all cases, in order to execute these irregularities, the government group recurrently used the figure of raising objections, hence the journalistic name that the case has received.
The Municipal Intervention also detected that the government group, made up of the Canarian Coalition and the PSOE, frequently resorted to dividing the object of some contracts to award them directly as minor contracts, circumventing the processing of a selection procedure with publicity and competition, without certify that the prices corresponded to those of the market.
Also included among the files sent to the court is the one referring to the “service of repair, renovation, replacement, planting or replanting of any element included in the gardens and green areas”, which was improperly awarded and extended to the UTE
formed by HPS Ibérica/Interjardin SL, in confusing terms, according to the Intervention, “since it seems to refer to a service at no cost to the Administration for, then,
as if it were a supply, distinguish between children’s or youth games, material of
irrigation and plants… with unit prices to be submitted by the bidder up to a maximum of
15,000, 5,000 and 10,000 respectively”. Those objections were also raised by the government group.
The irregularities also covered social aspects, with services such as nursery schools, in which “the economic balance of the contract remains unproved from the very moment in which it was admitted that the contractor is entitled to two considerations, one that receives directly from the users, the amount of which remains undetermined at the time of the award”, always according to the reports of the auditor, already in the hands of the judge. As happened with the Home Help Service, managed by the company Servisar, SL for 3.5 million euros per year, illegally extended, in which “the cost incurred under the contract has been higher than the contracted amount”, which According to the auditor, it meant that “expenses were incurred outside the contracting procedure, violating the provisions” of the Public Sector Contracts Law.
The Intervention also detected irregularities in the supply contract through leasing with the option to buy vehicles destined for the Local Police. According to their objections, raised by the municipal government to proceed with its expansion, the “need for the contract to set the rental price and the amounts corresponding to the maintenance fee in a differentiated manner, which would be extended to the rest of the the considerations, in accordance with 226 of the Public Sector Contracts Law. In this way, the acquisition price of the vehicles could be compared with the sum of the rental fees and the residual value or, where appropriate, the price of the purchase option, to determine the profitability obtained by the contractor”.
Judge Ana Serrano-Jover is now responsible for determining the scope of the facts and the content of the 163 files that have been sent to her by the City Council of La Laguna. If there is evidence of a crime in Senator Fernando Clavijo, he must submit a reasoned statement to the Supreme Court. Otherwise, the case would have to be dismissed for him and for the other defendants, who have already passed through the Court of Instruction, where they have accepted their right not to testify. Only former socialist councilor Javier Abreu did it, but to accuse the complainant of the plot of a conspiracy to harm Fernando Clavijo. That accusation forced the opening of preliminary proceedings for an alleged crime against the Administration of Justice that was filed as soon as the judge who investigated Abreu’s statements verified that they were all his inventions.