Oviedo (EFE) its subsequent extra cost was the lack of supply of stone materials as it was not possible to exploit the nearest masonry quarries such as the one in Aboño.
The National Court has resumed today the trial for the so-called “Musel case” for the alleged irregularities in the works of the port of Gijón for which some twenty people are accused, including four former officials of Puertos del Estado and seventeen others responsible for the companies.
The magistrates have indicated for today and tomorrow, Tuesday, the statements of eleven managers of the companies of the different subcontractors that carried out the work, who are accused as presumed necessary cooperators in a crime of fraud for which the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor requests a individual penalty of two years in prison and nine years of special disqualification for employment or public office.
In today’s session, Vicente M., of the Management Committee representing the company Sociedad Anónima de Trabajos y Obras (SATO) in the UTE Dique Torres, has indicated that the delay in the work was due to the fact that Hidroeléctrica del Cantábrico ( HC) “was making them dizzy for a long time” by not facilitating the exploitation of the Aboño quarry, which was usually used as a source of supply of the material.
According to his statement, HC “was dragging his feet because he had other interests”, since it prevailed that he was going to undertake a desulphurisation plant, a fact that the UTE was unaware of, and “objected” to use the Aboño quarry, which forced them to resort to commercial quarries that were further away and to other types of materials that were more expensive.
Higher cost for transportation from other quarries
The defendant Juan EPM, who at that time was attached to the president of Dragados, explained that the lack of supplies and the higher cost of transportation from commercial quarries located in Oviedo or León, among others, was the main problem to be solved, therefore that meetings were convened in 2005 and 2006 to discuss the status of the work and the difficulties and he has insisted that “the priority was to solve it.”
Octavio R., director of Dragados, has stated that in those meetings no new prices were discussed, since at that time the Port Authority said that “the work had to be carried out and meet the deadlines” and has indicated that the work “was unfeasible if the lack of supplies was not resolved”.
He added that he never considered abandoning the work because he hoped to be able to reach an agreement with Hidroeléctrica.
The works on which this case focuses were awarded for 580 million in 2005, but in the end they cost around 800 million, and were partly financed with European funds, but in view of suspicions of irregularities in their execution, the European Commission asked Spain to return the subsidy of 247.5 million granted to the project.
In the trial, which began on January 16 and will last until June, the ex-Secretary General of Transportation Fernando Palao has already declared; the former president of State Ports Mariano Navas; the former president of the port of Gijón Fernando Menéndez Rexach, and the former director of the port of El Musel José Luis Díaz Rato, who are facing a request for a sentence from the Prosecutor’s Office of three years in prison. EFE