“Look, honorable judges, in a section of route 3, the projected time for the work was 100 months. My client, Juan Carlos Villafañe, former head of the General Provincial Road Agency (AGVP) of Santa Cruz, of those 100 months, was in office for 10 days. And the judges accused him that he defrauded the State with that work. In another section of route 3, Villafañe was also accused, but he was not even there when the work began: only at the opening of the bid envelopes, with the presence of the provincial governor. The prosecutors Diego Luciani Y Serge Mola Villafañe was accused of wanting to do ten works in two months. No, he didn’t want to do them. It was just a presentation to be included in the budget for the following year. These mistakes are rude. Two audits, both requested by the macrismo, concluded that the works were carried out and that nothing was paid that had not been built. Where is the fraud to the State”. With this vehemence, the lawyer of two former presidents of the AGVP, Villafañe and Raúl Santibañez, once again left the prosecutors in a bad light. But not because of an erroneous frame or approach, but as a result of directly non-existent facts, true bloopers.
How is the trial going?
Lawyers Miguel Angel Arce Aggeo and Matías Galván will end their plea this Monday and then the final stage of the trial will begin, which is in charge of the Federal Oral Court number 2, made up of doctors Rodrigo Giménez Uriburu, Jorge Gorini and Andrés Basso.
The next step will be Luciani and Basso’s response to the defenses’ requests for annulments. For example, the incorporation of evidence from other files, wrong accusations and, above all, a decisive question: that the works were evaluated by the Santa Cruz agencies, including the Justice, for which it is not appropriate to judge the same thing twice and, furthermore, provincial independence is violated because the AGVP is a Santa Cruz body and its holders have powers that come from a law of the provincial legislature.
It is very likely that everything will end in the second half of November and, as is known, the accused have the right to last words before the verdict. There are already signs that Cristina Kirchner will speak when it is her turn.
Luciani and Mola paperboards
Arce Aggeo used a large part of the day this Friday to go through the 28 works for which the prosecutors accuse Villafañe. Everything done was controlled by the Court of Accounts of Santa Cruz with a permanent auditor in the AGVP. In addition, there was the obligation to report each step: each work certificate, payment, tender, offer. But the most significant thing is that the Court of Auditors had to approve what was done each year and that always happened. An annual balance of the General Accounting Office was also issued and the Attorney General’s Office intervened.
To this is added that the government of Mauricio Macri hired a private consultant, Consultants, which concluded that the works were carried out and were well done. and it adds up the audit carried out by Vialidad Nacional, already under the leadership of Javier Iguacel during the management of Cambiemos, which also resulted in the fact that nothing was paid that had not been built. That was what the auditor Justo Pastor Romero declared at the trial. But prosecutor Mola argued that the audit is not credible: “Who do we believe, gentlemen judges?” Arce Aggeo challenged. “Mola, who has no baggage on routes? Or to a career auditor like Justo Romero, with years in Roads, who signed the audit with two other professionals? ”, He added.
Arce Aggeo mentioned again that the prosecutors could not provide any element regarding the 51 tenders that Lázaro Báez won. They mentioned that the other companies that appeared pretended to compete, but could not give any explanation: why would businessmen who really hated Lázaro Báez go to benefit him by pretending that they competed? Why would they spend money on bidding documents and submitting projects?
“The awards were normal”, rounded off the lawyer. And, according to Arce Aggeo, in most of the works in which his client was involved, there were no advances of money. Luciani and Mola argued that the advances were illegal, but the defenses showed that these advances were included in the specifications and the successful bidder had to pay the active rate of Banco Nación for the time of the advance. “They were no harm to the State,” the lawyer rounded off.
Nothing against Cristina Kirchner
Missing a single day of arguments, the entire trial continues to travel far from Cristina Kirchner. Throughout the three and a half year process, she was not even named, except in the final argument of the prosecutors who used two whatsapp messages, which were not even addressed to the then president, of the total of 26,000 messages found on the cell phone of José López -the official who threw nine million dollars in the convent of General Rodríguez- and that the prosecutors introduced through the window at the end of the trial.
The messages didn’t have the slightest importance either: it was a demand that Lázaro Báez’s companies be paid. It was at the end of November 2015, when Cristina was already leaving the Casa Rosada, and the request was because the works were not going to continue and there was a tremendous social crisis in Santa Cruz. Still, Báez was owed 276 million pesos, which was not paid to him then or later.
In Commodore Py it is an open secret that it will be very difficult to convict CFK for works that were always in the budgets, the National Congress voted for them, they were tendered, awarded and controlled in Santa Cruz and there are no messages, chats or any instructions emanating from the then president.
The other fact that is already circulating is that very possibly, when the time comes, Cristina will use the right to say the last words. It will be before the verdict.