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As the courts are in the process of examining documents and data to see if there is a case to answer to regarding the award of the contract to run the beach bars in Orihuela, the municipal council have now filed their own case against both the previous government and members of the opposition CLr party, on account that their inactivity in the past has resulted in the municipality now being unable to claim back outstanding debts from the beach bar contractor which has been paid to the provincial coastal department to allow for beach bars to be placed on the Orihuela Costa.

The acting mayor of Orihuela, Antonio Zapata, claims that the council has not received 233,000 euro outstanding from the period of 2006 and 2007, which he says was never claimed by the government at the time, nor the subsequent councillors who held posts which should have identified the problem during this current administrative term.

The mayor has put the blame firmly in the hands of previous Partido Popular councillor for contracts, David Costa, as well as the CLr members Juan Ignacio López-Bas and Pedro Mancebo who were the councillors for finance and the coast respectively before their expulsion from the government.

Contrary to claims earlier this year that the current contractor owed over a million euro in debts, this case now dates back to when the original contract was awarded to Chiringuitos del Sol SL in 2006. According to Zapata, “allegations made by the contractor” state that there was an unwritten agreement that this fee was not to be paid, on account of their being less space available than was originally thought, and so an “oral agreement” was reached with the then council that they would pay the fee to compensate for the error in drafting the statement.

Zapata then states that this could and should never be the case under the terms of any contract, unless it was rewritten and retendered, and so another contract should have been drafted.

In explanation, David Costa, who has recently seen one case of corruption against him shelved, explained that the council paid the 2006 fee to the coastal department in the October of that year, and therefore the deadline for claiming the outstanding payment from the contractor would have expired in October, 2010. However, the 2007 fee was paid in January of 2008, and therefore the deadline to claim that fee was January 2012, when López-Bas and Mancebo “had the powers of finance and the coast”.

For his part, whilst stating that he is not worried about the accusations, Mancebo has said that the complaint “falls under its own weight”, as it is still possible to recover the debt, and he is prepared to explain everything about the contract to the prosecutor. Mancebo also suggested that the actions of Zapata can be reckless, to the extent that the debt is not prescribed until after 4 years from the termination, which was November, 2012. Mancebo has also accused Zapata of doing a “disservice” to former councillors Asun Mayoral, who was part of the CLr group originally, and Bob Houliston, who entered government in a pact with CLR and Mancebo, as they were in charge of recruitment and the Orihuela Costa respectively.

It was only prior to the award of the latest contract for the summer of this year that any attempts to recover the outstanding payment was made, when the municipal Mayor, Monseratte Guillén, along with the councillor for the coast, Martina Scheurer, wrote to the contractor and requested the payment prior to the award of this contract, the subsequent result being the payment by Chiringuitos Del Sol of an outstanding amount of 552,000 euro for the 2008 to 2011 period, with the 2012 and 2013 payment request now having just been sent to the company as that is also now due.

Meanwhile, the councillor for the coast, Martina Scheurer, claims that Pedro Mancebo is also asking the prosecutor to examine the contracts for the award of both life guard and ambulance cover on the Orihuela Costa during the summer, on account of this contract being split into the two different elements of each service.

Scheurer points out however that this was exactly the case when Mancebo offered and awarded the contract previously, and so any legal claim made against the government now with that as a factor would also implicate him for the same reason.

Both the life guards and ambulance contracts were awarded to different companies, although Mancebo also claims that these companies share the same administrator, which is not allowed.

Filed under: http://www.theleader.info/article/45591/

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