Mayor José Hila has responded to the detentions of town hall senior officials by apologising to the public. He said that the transport and procurement departments will be strengthened and that the town hall will provide maximum cooperation to investigators.
Hila of PSOE called on Marga Duran, the Partido Popular spokesperson, to make an announcement on the detentions. He added that it seemed as if the PP had, during the period of the previous administration, organised a network at the town hall to serve its own interests and not those of the citizens.
Two of the thirteen officials at Palma town hall who were detained on Monday are former councillors. Irene San Gil was the councillor for public service during the Partido Popular administration of Mateo Isern, and Gabriel Vallejo was the councillor for transport during the same administration.
The arrests were made by officers from the National Police as part of an investigation into alleged fraud related to the contract to operate the ORA blue-zone car-parking system in the city. San Gil was charged but released at eleven o'clock on Monday night after testifying for two hours. Vallejo was held overnight.
The police operation was ordered by the judge who has been heading the investigation into police corruption in Palma, Manuel Penalva, and by the anti-corruption prosecution service.
In the wider context of this investigation, it had been suspected that there could have been rigging of contracts at the town hall. However, there had been no potential proof of this. It would seem that the judge and the prosecution service have now been given information by certain individuals implicated in the police corruption affair and have acted accordingly.
The contract for the ORA service was awarded to the Dornier consortium. Among issues that the prosecution is looking into are jobs with Dornier held by relatives and friends of politicians and senior officials at the town hall. As to the contract itself, while the bid that was made entailed one of the highest amounts offered under the tender, investigators suspect that specifications were developed in order to benefit Dornier.
The investigators are also looking into whether "commissions" were paid by Dornier to politicians linked to and part of the previous administration at the town hall.
As for the current administration, the councillor for public safety, Angelica Pastor, and her counterpart for public service, Aurora Jhardi, have said, as has the mayor, that the town hall is cooperating totally with the investigation but are stressing the need to respect the presumption of innocence. Mayor Hila has also stressed this.
Otherwise, reaction at the town hall has been one of shock at the number of detentions.
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