In line with the conclusions stipulated in the Report commissioned into Camposol’s construction and approved on 22nd March 2018 by the Murcia Regional Assembly (Regional Parliament) events which were instigated by the CRA, all documentation was passed on to the relevant Courts and Authorities to ascertain if criminal offences had been committed and if criminal prosecutions could be brought against organisations or individuals, this documentation has led the Prosecution Section of the Court of Auditors in Madrid to apply “the practice of due diligence” on some unclear issues arising in the construction process of 4,000 properties on the Camposol complex, Margarita Mariscal de Gante, Accounting Legal Counsel to the Court, revealed that this decision had been adopted after information was received by the Public Prosecutor of “alleged accounting irregularities” in the actions of Mazarrón Town Council, this was “in view of the documentation submitted by the Regional Assembly of Murcia, regarding the execution of works on the Camposol development”.
The content of the charge, signed by the Minister of Justice, José María Aznar, places Mazarrón Council and the promoter Justo y Manoli (Grupo MASA) as the targets of the investigation, the judicial service states that “it is necessary to determine if there is financial liability and to who it applies”.
The Counsel of Accounts recalled that the Justo y Manoli company was ordered by the Superior Court of Justice, to pay 3.6 million euros in 2010, for building 724 homes without a municipal building licence. Despite this ruling, the local administration, governed at that time by the PP Mayor Francisco Blaya Blaya, supposedly did nothing to secure payment of the aforementioned amount into municipal coffers.
In addition to this apparent accounting irregularity the Account Counsel adds “The Town Council initiated the administrative procedure to seize the guarantees that Justo y Manoli deposited as a bond for the urbanisation works, but did not proceed to collect them”, the amount of these guarantees exceeds 2,714,000 euros.
The total of these two acts of abject negligence amount to over 6.3 million euros, this not insignificant sum would have gone a long way to solve many of Camposol’s problems, making the urbanisation a far better place to live and kept property price values in line with the rest of the region instead of the reduced increases or stagnation witnessed at present.
The charge also reproaches one of the decisions made regarding Camposol by the following local council regime, when in August 2014 “it adopted the urbanisation works against the judgement of the General Secretary of the Town Council”. This decision was approved by the Council coalition led by the socialist Mayor Francisco García and the independent Mayor Ginés Campillo.
In both May and June of this year, the Court of Accounts offered Mazarrón Council opportunities to refute the allegations listed, but “it has not presented any defence”, so Margarita Mariscal de Gante proceeded to appoint an examiner to investigate “the irregularities detected”.
Within a maximum period of two months, pursuant to Article 47 of the Law on the Functioning of the Court of Auditors, the investigator must determine if there was any detrimental effect on municipal coffers, in what amount and if there are accountable liabilities.
The legal department of Mazarrón Council confirmed yesterday that the Council appears in the investigation, but clarified that it is “in an embryonic phase.” They also stated that the proceedings that are to be carried out “will have to determine if there is evidence of financial liability and by which persons”, indeed the aforementioned article of law even provides for measures such as property seizure of the accused.
The PP Mayoress, Alicia Jiménez, confirmed that this process aims to “individualise” responsibilities and liabilities regarding the construction process of Camposol, Jiménez did not explain the reason why in 2010, the government team led by Francisco Blaya Blaya did not collect the 3.6 million from the promoter Justo y Manoli, she only stressed that the amount, along with other debts were included in the report by the Court of Auditors, “We were not being diligent about chasing debtors” she admitted, Jiménez did clarify that they did not collect the 2.7 million Justo y Manoli guarantees “because the bank filed a dispute against its seizure.”
To date, the Public Prosecutor has opened two investigations into the urbanisation:- the first, for a town planning crime and alleged fraud, and the second at the request of the Regional Assembly’s commission, in both cases the proceedings were closed, as in the Prosecutor’s opinion any crimes were outside the statute of limitations and hence time barred.
Tina Ruiz, Mazarrón Councillor for Ciudadanos, stated yesterday that “the Ciudadanos Party have always claimed that this case should go to the Court of Accounts for those responsible to have their personal assets taken for the damage they have caused to the residents of Camposol and the Town” and added that the charge documented “the promoter Justo y Manoli ignored the disciplinary proceedings and the order that prevented it from continuing with construction on the riverbed and restricted area of the Rambla de Los Aznares after 2004”.
The CRA will follow these proceedings and continue to apply pressure wherever necessary to advance and improve the urbanisation and environment.