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Torrevieja Socialists Raise Concerns Over Several “Questionable” Contracts

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The Socialist Party of Torrevieja questions the management of the PP by revealing the content of several minor contracts that they call “questionable”.

Minor contracts, those that can be awarded “by hand” for amounts of up to 15,000 euro plus IVA in the case of supplies and services and 40,000 plus IVA in the case of works, have reached a record number of 671 in Torrevieja since the PP agreed to the mayor’s office in 2019, according to data provided by Bárbara Soler at a press conference. A huge number of these contracts outsource functions that can be carried out by the Torrevieja Council’s own civil servants.

The Director of the Council’s legal advice already issued a report in 2023 warning that minor hiring must be exceptional and punctual, which in Torrevieja was carried out routinely, which could give rise to “unintended legal consequences.”

The spokesperson for the socialist municipal group of Torrevieja has questioned the management of the PP group by revealing the number and content of several minor contracts awarded by the Torrevieja Council. Among the examples, the creation – mandatory based on state and European regulations – of an ethical compliance office to prevent fraud in public procurement awarded by hand to a former senator and former deputy of the PP. “We are making a good start in this ethical contracting, the joke tells itself”, said Soler, who recalled that the Torrevieja Council has a legal team and a Director of the legal department who could have carried out this task.

Another aspect that draws attention, in addition to their number, is the purpose of these contracts. Sometimes, minor contracts are awarded on matters that are not the responsibility of the Council, and in others, tasks that could be carried out by municipal civil servants are outsourced. “In the category of the latter we have, for example, preparing the census of cemeteries. Here two companies from the same administrator are invited openly and both present an offer with a difference of 50 euro. So this thing that the municipal staff could do perfectly well ends up costing us 17,908 euro. With the previous government, minor contracts were published so that anyone who wanted could submit their offer, but now a budget is requested directly from the lucky ones,” Soler lamented.

The contract to initiate the necessary procedures to protect the Tintero beachside restaurant as an asset of local relevance also falls into the same category of companies that carry out functions that would be done more cheaply, efficiently and quickly by Council staff. “A task that, if carried out by municipal staff, would have arrived in time to allow us to fight for its survival, but that when outsourced meant throwing away almost 11,000 euro from the citizens of Torrevieja for reports that never arrived, since that the Tintero was demolished before the company completed its assignment,” says Soler.

Another of the contracts cited by the spokesperson has been the appraisal of a rural land that the City Council is interested in acquiring “for some reason” and “since the Council has numerous architects who could carry out this appraisal, we are going to an external company”. What is striking, in Soler’s words, is that “for an appraisal of a land worth 130,000 euro we have paid 18,000. Let citizens review how much the appraisal of their properties cost them because this has no explanation.”

Likewise, the spokesperson has stated that there is a minor contract for the study of solutions to be implemented in Agreement C-2 “Punta la Víbora” for the redevelopment of said area, the purpose of which is to propose solutions that will subsequently allow, after selecting the one considers more appropriate, the development of the corresponding project. “It is curious that the documentation containing these solutions, which is called memory, was delivered several months after the project that had to choose one of them was put out to tender, which turns this minor contract into smoke” and, furthermore, “the first time it was presented it was done with the name of our General Director of Services and Urban Planning on the cover, which was corrected the second time the same document was presented but already headed with the name of the successful bidder. We understand that this was a mistake, without further ado, because it could not be that this documentation was prepared in whole or in part by our General Director and was collected by a third person, that would be a scandal. It would be unthinkable, surely there is another reason.”

Above all, Bárbara Soler continues, because “this report consists of 9 pages, several of them with background information and photographs and one of them copied word for word from an internet article, including the photo of our illustrious photographer Joaquín Carrión. A document for which we in Torrevieja have paid 17,545 euro.”

The spokesperson has harshly criticised the management of the PP of Torrevieja and has expressed the desire of the Socialist Party that the ethical compliance office that is going to be created will lead to the termination of minor contracts awarded by hand to related companies and that an end to the shameful waste of public money on useless or outsourced tasks without reason. “In this Council there is no place for transparency or equal opportunities, much less efficient management.”

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