United We Can (Izquierda Unida, Podemos, Equo) in the Santa Cruz de Tenerife City Council criticized this Tuesday that the municipal government group rejected, in the last plenary session, setting up an investigation commission on the privatization of the water cycle in the municipality . The group’s spokesman, Ramón Trujillo, affirms that he does not understand why they do not want to clarify the reasons why Emmasa, the municipal water company, made payments to her private partner, Sacyr, which totaled 33.6 million euroswithout anyone warning of the illegality of these payments for thirteen years.
Canarian Coalition forgives Sacyr for the 59 million it paid to keep the water business of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Trujillo affirms that if the City Council “does not investigate and explain the disastrous management of the privatization of the water cycle” mechanisms will not be created to prevent “serious damage” to citizens in the future. From the formation it is pointed out that the existence of a monitoring commission for the activity of Emmasa, since 2016, has not served “neither to detect the illegality of the payments nor to guarantee the full collaboration of the privatized company with the City Council”.
In this sense, United We Can underlines that the technical report commissioned by the City Council to find out how much money Emmasa had paid to Sacyr without legal justification pointed to Emmasa’s lack of collaboration, in November 2021. The auditing company indicated that “they were not provided the balances of sums and balances requested, for the exercises from 2017 to 2020, and that, therefore, they could not complete the work”, adds the formation.
The verifiers of the unjustified payments to Sacyr affirmed in the aforementioned report, according to United We Can, that they could not have “complete evidence, nor ensure the totality or integrity of any information received, nor trust the veracity of the statements transmitted to them by those responsible of the water company.
For this reason, United We Can insist on the need for an investigation commission on the water cycle in Santa Cruz de Tenerife due to “such poor management that it had to be intervened by the City Council”. For years, he explains, “the service lived with breaches in terms of investments, unauthorized subcontracting, unfounded claims for economic rebalancing of the concession or establishment of the abusive fire rate.”
United We Can denounced in court that Emmasa was paying Sacyr millions of dollars after the EMMASA Board of Directors decided that the price Sacyr paid for exploiting the water cycle for 25 years was not a price, but an advance or loan .
It was in July 2020, with the PSOE in the Mayor’s Office, when it was decided that these payments (2.3 million euros per year) will be paralyzed waiting to verify its legality or justification. According to the calculations of the socialist corporation, since 2007 the City Council, under the command of the Canarian Coalition, had already paid some 28 million euros. Precisely the stoppage of those payments to Emmasa was one of the last measures adopted by Patricia Hernández (PSOE) in her brief stage as mayor of the city, since that same month (July 2020) the motion of censure presented by the previous mayor, José Manuel Bermúdez (CC), supported by the PP and a recently arrived councilor from Ciudadanos after the unexpected resignation of another mayor and who, therefore, was expelled (first invalidly and then definitively) for transfuguismo.
At the moment there are five people charged for alleged crimes related to corruption.
However, in May 2021, the government group of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (CC, PP and the defector Evelyn Alonso) decided that the Consistory would not pursue criminal action in the case. It was the mayor himself, José Manuel Bermúdez, who with his casting vote prevented the City Council from acting as a private prosecution in the preliminary proceedings of the Court of Instruction Number 3 of the island capital against former mayor Miguel Zerolo, currently in prison for the Las Teresitas case, and against Pablo Abril Martorell Fernández, former CEO of EMMASA, for alleged crimes of prevarication and embezzlement of public funds in the water service privatization operation.