Wednesday, 8 February 2023, 15:08
Marbella town council took the decision on Monday 6 February to return a grant of almost two million euros approved in December 2015 for works on the first phase of the current Bulevar Pablo Ráez, granted by the Malaga’s provincial authority, the Diputación. Spokesman for the town hall, Félix Romero, detailed that the aid was subject to a deadline of one year for execution and another for justification by 31 March 2017.
The town hall lost the 1.98 million euros after being denied a second extension by the provincial authority which had already granted a first extension until 30 June 2017, when the mayor was the socialist José Bernal and was in power in a coalition with the IU, OSP and Podemos parties.
The councillor for Works at the time, Blanca Fernández, explained in 2017 that the delays were due to safety issues; unstable and poorly compacted soil made it unfeasible to support the planned surface installations such as the semi-circular fairground at the northern end, where events including carnival and the Virgen del Carmen festival take place.
Romero said that the situation has come about due to "management errors and lack of diligence on the part of the socialists and coalition to undertake this project". Romero went on to say, "They did not have the diligence to carry out the work, resulting in a four-million euro bill for the town hall; two million to be returned and the two million of the cost of the work to be paid out of their own funds.”
The spokesman estimated that these funds "would have helped us to pay for infrastructure like the underground car park being built in Calle Doha, with a budget of 3.8 million euros; asphalting plan which is more than three 3 million euros; or two breakwaters such as the one needed on La Venus beach, valued at 1.6 million; or two Mediterranean parks, such as the one to be built in the El Pinillo area; or up to 10 centres for the homeless, like the one run by the Red Cross, to which the town hall allocates 400,000 euros each year".
Fernández, now in opposition, responded to Félix Romero's statements by describing them as a "smokescreen". Fernández asked the PP government team "not to invent smokescreens to try to cover up the scandals in which they are involved day after day due to suspicions of corruption surrounding the administration of the current mayor Ángeles Muñoz".
The councillor considered that what Romero should have done is to "give clear and convincing explanations as to why, according to the media, the town hall signed another two contracts with a company which the courts have accused of being involved in money laundering on behalf of the mayor's family" in what she considers to be "a new scandal in addition to those we have been hearing about every day for the last four months".
Fernández recalled that last November the socialist group requested access to the files of the five contracts that the town hall signed with Codecosol, "another company which, according to the judge, was also used to launder drug money".
In addition, the councillor has accused the PP government team as "experts in losing subsidies", referring to "when they lost five million euros for employment programmes, the amount of the subsidy for the El Ingenio Pavilion or the 600,000 euros they had to return for the 'Sabor a Málaga' market in San Pedro Alcántara".
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