Santander, Feb 22 (EFE).- The National Police arrested eight people this Wednesday in a joint operation with the Tax Administration Agency for alleged irregularities in the awarding of contracts in the road maintenance service of the Government of Cantabria, according to sources of the investigation have informed EFE.
In addition, within this operation of the Central Unit for Economic and Fiscal Crime (UDEF), five companies, two private homes and the Ministry of Public Works, Territorial Planning and Urban Planning, of which the alleged ringleader is a senior official, have been registered. of this plot, according to RNE in Cantabria.
At a press conference, the Minister of Public Works, José Luis Gochicoa, has assured that he is “absolutely” unaware of the reason for the searches that have been carried out in his department and has said that he is not aware of “any suspicion or complaint” in the road maintenance service. He has also specified that there have been no arrests in the Ministry.
“We have absolutely no idea,” Gochicoa stated about the search that, starting at 7:30 a.m., is carried out by agents of the UDEF and the Tax Agency by order of the Investigating Court number 5 of Santander, which has decreed the secrecy of summary.
Gochicoa explained that the road maintenance service has a hundred workers and a budget of 16 million euros per year, that there have been records in “two or three offices” of that department and that today an official has not attended, who has alleged “personal motives”.
The counselor has not specified, to questions from journalists, who this official is, although he has considered that he will have “a relevant reason” for not going to his job.
Yes, he has pointed out that this official has “extended experience” in the highway service, in which he “has been for many years.”
The eight arrests that have been carried out this Wednesday respond, as reported by RNE in Cantabria, to an investigation initiated more than a year ago by the Tax Administration Agency, which detected an enrichment of the alleged ringleader that was not in accordance with his level economic and that allegedly could have been for more than ten years awarding contracts irregularly thanks to the position he held and his knowledge of the administration.
The head of the Investigating Court number 5 of Santander will take a statement from the detainees this Friday for their alleged involvement in crimes of tax fraud, money laundering or bribery.
Gochicoa has advanced that “if there were irregularities” in contracts dependent on the Ministry or on any official, he would propose that his department appear as injured party in a hypothetical judicial process.
“If there is exploitation, the full weight of the law has to fall on that person,” said Gochicoa, who admitted that it had been “a day of disgust” and added that the service that is being registered “has always worked well ”, “it is effective” and it worked “correctly”.
He has also assessed that it would be “irresponsible” to resign at this time, because first you have to “know what has happened.” “What I have to do is work to help clarify the facts,” he added.