The Provincial Court of Murcia has sentenced the former president of the Murcian Government, Pedro Antonio Sánchez, to three years in prison, a fine of 3,600 euros and 17 years and 3 months of special disqualification for public office or employment as the author of two crimes of prevarication -the The first of them continued in competition with one of falsehood-, in relation to the project of the Puerto Lumbreras auditorium when he was mayor of the town, according to Europa Press.
Likewise, it has sentenced the accidental secretary of the town hall, and an architect, as necessary cooperators of the crimes of prevarication, to the penalty of special disqualification from public office or employment for 15 years and 6 months, the first, and 16 years and 6 months, the second, according to sources from the Superior Court of Justice of the Region of Murcia (TSJMU) in a statement.
The two cases of prevarication
Regarding the first criminal act, the court considered it proven that Sánchez, when he was mayor, aware of the existence of subsidies to local corporations for the development of certain cultural buildings, commissioned the accused architect, “verbally and without any prior contracting file” project to request such assistance. And, later, once the help has been obtained, to call the competition for projects, “totally conditioned to the fact that the winner was the architect”.
And, in relation to the second crime of prevarication, the Chamber confirms that once the subsidy has been granted, when the architect detects “that there was technical and economic infeasibility in the execution of the project” he communicates it to the mayor and together, with the municipal official, “they agreed to the preparation of a modified project that would justify the investment of the subsidy before the Autonomous Community and prevent reimbursement, even if this meant leaving the work unfinished.”
Finally, the sentence acquits the former councilor of the crime of fraud against the Public Administration of which he was also accused. “The previously related facts do not fit into this typicity, since the approval of the modified project was not intended to defraud the City Council,” says the sentence.
“The only will that was had when the modification was achieved was to save the errors created from the drafting of the project”
“The only will that was had when the modification was achieved was to save the errors created since the drafting of the project and this in order to justify the investment of the subsidy and avoid the requirement of reimbursement,” explains the resolution.
Notices in the press
At this point, the court concludes that “it is obvious that public entities can receive projects, ideas or dossiers from individuals or companies” –alluding to the explanation alleged by the defense–. But it clarifies that “this presentation must be made through the pertinent administrative channels and the competent body and with the manifest intervention and control of the technicians.”
Also noteworthy is the resolution that since 2005 and 2006 the municipal yearbooks first, and the propaganda of the PP and the local press, later, already included the commission of a Theater project to the accused architect and even its presentation to the then president of the Region, Ramón Luis Valcarcel. Which leads to argue that “it seems difficult to understand that it is a unilateral idea of the architect”.
In December 2006, after Sánchez was informed of the granting of the regional subsidy, he sent a communication to the Autonomous Community accepting it. “However, there is no approved agreement, nor registration in the Register of urban agreements on the aforementioned plot, nor any file processed for that purpose,” underlines the sentence.
The “late” launch of the ideas competition
Given the complaints transmitted by the Official College of Architects of Murcia that a project existed without a contest, “the mayor proceeded to process a project contest to give apparent legality to the acts carried out previously,” underlines the resolution.
The sentence states that, after the award of the contract, between January and February 2008 the architect presented an Execution Project that respected the economic amount of 6 million, but that contained more buildings, highlighting that “it had such a number of defects that it was unfeasible defects finish it with the budget that was available”.
With all the defects, the architect “knew that there was technical and economic infeasibility.” And after notifying the mayor, both, together with the third defendant, “agreed to the preparation of a modified project that would justify the investment of the subsidy before the Autonomous Community and prevent reimbursement.”
With respect to the crime of ideological falsehood, the ruling states that the City Council never had any agreement with the possible background of the Rambla de Nogalte land and, therefore, the truth is not being told regarding the requirement of availability of land to get the grant. And the same is said for the 2007 letter requesting the payment of the first annuity in which it alluded to “the rate of execution of the planned works”, when these had not started.
Finally, the resolution requires the three convicted to pay a part of the costs caused, without including those of the public prosecution, taking into account the number of the object of prosecution. Specifically, 3/13 parts to the declared perpetrator of three crimes and 2/13 parts to the co-perpetrators of two crimes of prevarication. The sentence is not final and against it it is possible to file an appeal before the Supreme Court and not before the Superior Court of Justice, since it is the procedure prior to Law 41/2015, the resolution clarifies.