MC, Podemos and Vox request a plenary session to clarify “the most received money since 2005” by the company, made up of FCC and the Consistory
The opposition in the Cartagena City Council makes a common front to request an extraordinary plenary session to clarify and quantify “the extra money that Lhicarsa receives since 2005” for the street cleaning and garbage service, in view of the report issued by the Court of Auditors questioning important aspects of the contract.
MC, Podemos and Vox offered a joint press conference this Tuesday to demand accountability from the government team. The opposition wants the Plenary to assess “the amount that the concessionaire must return to the people of Cartagena or start the procedure to find out this figure and take the appropriate measures.” Finally, and so that the three municipal groups can present their position in the session, only the MC councilors registered the petition, who meet the requirement of the regulation: they represent more than a quarter of the twenty-seven members of the corporation. Although they have the support of the four councilors of Podemos and Vox.
For the MC spokesman, José López, “there is no time for more excuses”, such as the formula announced by the mayoress, Noelia Arroyo, to consult the Legal Council of the Region of Murcia about the application of some measures that correct the irregularities detected by the Court of Accounts.
“It is the municipal services that must study the report,” said López and alluded to the recent addition to the Council of the lawyer who defends the interests of Lhicarsa, Salvador Pérez Alcaraz.
Extensions in 2005 and 2013
Among the main anomalies, according to the document, are the two extensions of the contract to the mixed company Lhicarsa (formed by FCC and the Consistory) for ten years, until 2030. These were carried out without “legal coverage”, in the years 2005 and 2013 , with Pilar Barreiro, from the PP, in the mayor’s office. The report also states that the price increases in the contract were not duly justified, which have raised the cost from 7.6 million euros in 1994 to the current 36. Neither the extensions nor the revisions were foreseen in the specifications, approved during the government of the socialist mayor José Antonio Alonso.
The Councilor for Infrastructures, Diego Ortega, assures that the municipal technicians are studying the application of the “recommendations”
López, who in his time as mayor did not make relevant decisions regarding Lhicarsa, insisted that the victims of this situation are the citizens. “The people of Cartagena suffer from the increase in the price of the service, the illegal contract extensions, the income for different concepts that never reach the municipal coffers and the illegal costs for advising the contras or not doing so.” And meanwhile, Cartagena’s dirt is one of the main neighborhood concerns.
MC’s vice-spokesman, Jesús Giménez Gallo, denounced that FCC achieved “twenty more years of contract without competition or publicity.” Regarding the price increase, he indicated that “he obtains 39 million euros when he should have received 8 and receives 3 million each year for technical assistance, which FCC introduced without appearing in the specifications.”
Remunicipalize the service
Also the spokesperson for Podemos, Leli García, remarked that “the alleged irregularities that we have been denouncing for a long time are already fait accompli. The Court of Auditors agrees with us.” She insisted on the remunicipalization of the service and demanded transparency. “In recent months we have requested with MC the opening of several investigative commissions that have been rejected by the government team,” she recalled. In her opinion, the City Council maintains the contract with Lhicarsa at all costs for a “terrible” service.
Three political groups denounce that these anomalies occur when Cartagena “is dirtier, due to the lousy service provided”
The Vox spokesman, Gonzalo Abad, regretted that it is not the first time that the Court of Auditors has questioned the management carried out by the government team. The mayor recalled that the irregularities come from the time of the “ineffable” Pilar Barreiro, and have a bad arrangement, in his opinion. “Where was the opposition not to appeal these extensions?”
In response to the opposition political groups, the Councilor for Infrastructures, Diego Ortega, accused them of “having started the electoral campaign” and presenting “as judgments some reports from the Court of Accounts that are recommendations.” Ortega assured that the municipal technicians study these suggestions to apply to the cleaning contract because there are issues that “generate many doubts.” Therefore, he insisted that they go to the advisory bodies of the Autonomous Community to have the greatest legal support before making any decision.
Ortega criticized that the MC spokesman speaks a lot from the opposition “but the government did nothing, neither imposed sanctions, nor separated the media. Lessons on legality from López, not one ».
Alonso and Barreiro distance themselves from the investigation
The report of the Court of Accounts includes the allegations made by the former mayors of the municipality, José Antonio Alonso and Pilar Barreiro. In his letter, Alonso states that his term as mayor ended in mid-1995 and that his work on the contract subject to inspection is limited “exclusively” to the initial constitution of the mixed entity Cleaning and Hygiene of Cartagena SA. For the 25 years that have elapsed and “the total disconnection of municipal management, I lack any document or proof that I can provide,” he noted in his letter. Barreiro, for her part, explained that at the time she was mayor (from 1995 to 2015), the extension of the contract to Lhicarsa had favorable reports from the competent administrative bodies and the Legal Council of the Region of Murcia.
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