The Provincial Court of Murcia has sentenced the former president of the Government of Murcia Pedro Antonio Sanchez to three years in prison, a fine of 3,600 euros and 17 years and 3 months of special disqualification from public office or employment as the author of two crimes of prevarication -the first of which continued in competition with one of falsehood-, in relation to the Puerto Lumbreras auditorium project when he was mayor of the town.
Likewise, it has condemned as necessary collaborators of the crimes of prevarication to the one that was accidental secretary of the town halland a architectto the penalty of special disqualification for 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 release.
Regarding the first criminal act, the court considers 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” a project to request such assistance. And, later, once the help has been obtained, 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 notes 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 allow the investment of the subsidy to be justified before the Autonomous Community and prevent reimbursement, even if this meant leaving the work unfinished.
Finally, the sentence acquits Pedro Antonio Sánchez of the crime of fraud against the Public Administration of which he was also accused. “The facts reported above do not fit 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 approved was to save the errors created since the drafting of the project and this for the sake of justify the investment of the subsidy and avoid the requirement of reimbursement», explains the resolution.
As stated in the sentence throughout its more than 150 pages, the oral commission was completed with the drafting by the accused architect of the ‘Preliminary Project for Auditorium Theater’ in June 2006 and the subsequent ‘Basic Project for Auditorium Theater’ in November 2006. same year, to be built on a plot on the Southeast Bank of the Rambla de Nogalte, with an execution budget of 6 million.
Process in which no other could participate and projects that, according to the proven facts, did not have “registration entry in the City Council and They were not endorsed by the College of Architects either.».
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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 “said presentation must be made through the pertinent administrative channels and the competent body and with manifest intervention and control of 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 the argument 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 this purpose», underlines the sentence.
The Chamber does not accept the explanation given by Sánchez that the letter “was drawn up in the Department of Works, which is the one that handled the matter, and that he only signed». They describe it as “unthinkable” that the mayor was not involved in the “biggest and most expensive” municipal project.
Days later, on the 22nd, the Minister of Education makes a proposal for the Governing Council to approve the subsidy by Decree and, “subsequently and in order to give formal coverage to the previous actions and decisions already adopted by the mayor” , it was agreed at the Local Government Board on December 26, 2006 to give the City Council’s consent to the grant and approve the basic project.
Moving forward chronologically, it is stated that the Ministry of Culture gave the City Council the first 3 million euros of the grant on December 29, 2006. With the obligation to prove the expense before October 31, 2007, when the other 3 million would be released from the second annuity, which also had to be justified.
As “on said date there was no plot of land, nor was there a project competition, nor was there an execution project”, underlines one of the paragraphs of the sentence, in July 2007 Pedro Antonio Sánchez wrote to the Director General of Culture a letter in the that by means of “express manifestation” of this requested the extension of the execution period and justification of the amount.
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 garb of apparent legality to the previously executed acts”, 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 to finish it with the available budget”.
With all the aforementioned defects, the architect “knew that there was technical and economic infeasibility.” And after notifying Pedro Antonio Sánchez, both, together with the third defendant, “agreed on the preparation of a modified project that would justify the investment of the subsidy before the Autonomous Community and prevent reimbursement.”
The magistrates understand that “none of the two cases in which they tried to support the drafting of the modified project have been accredited.”
With regard to the crime of ideological falsehood, the sentence states that the City Council never had any agreement with the possible assignors of the Rambla de Nogalte land and, therefore, there is a lack of truth regarding the requirement of availability of land to obtain the subsidy. And the same is said for the letter of 2007 requesting the payment of the first annuity in which reference was made 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 incurred, not including those of the public prosecution, taking into account the number of crimes being prosecuted. Specifically, 3/13 parts to the declared author of three crimes and 2/13 parts to the co-authors 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.