Vélez-Málaga town hall searched and Local Police chief quizzed in backhander inquiry

National Police officers outside Vélez-Málaga town hall on Tuesday during the search.
National Police officers outside Vélez-Málaga town hall on Tuesday during the search. / EFE
  • The mayor of the Axarquía district has denied the council has any involvement and nobody from the municipality has been charged

The town hall in Vélez-Málaga and the Local Police headquarters were raided by National Police officers as part of a nationwide anticorruption operation on Tuesday. The inquiry concerns alleged backhanders in the awarding of contracts for traffic control systems. The inquiry centres on a Catalan supplier of highway technology to police called Aplicaciones Gespol, part of the Sacyr group.

The searches in Vélez-Málaga were part of a widespread operation covering over 20 municipalities across the country. Officials at the town hall were taken by surprise, including the mayor, Antonio Moreno Ferrer. The head of the Local Police, a town-hall controlled service, was taken from his home to be questioned at the National Police's station.

Searches started before 8am and went on until 11am at the Local Police offices and 12.30pm at the town hall. Copies of hard drives with contract information were taken from each building. According to the mayor, officers were only looking for information about Gespol.

The mayor said: "Vélez-Málaga town hall has had no business relationship with the group of companies investigated and no council politician is being investigated".

The solicitor of the Local Police chief told reporters that her client denied any knowledge of the company being investigated and had not answered questions as he wasn't allowed to hear full details of the inquiry. He was allowed to return home without any charge.