Five years in prison for the former mayor of El Ejido for the embezzlement of 58.8 million

The Provincial Court of Almería sentences the former mayor of El Ejido Juan Enciso to five years and three months in prison and one year of disqualification for the "embezzlement" of more than 58.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
31 March 2023 Friday 08:40
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Five years in prison for the former mayor of El Ejido for the embezzlement of 58.8 million

The Provincial Court of Almería sentences the former mayor of El Ejido Juan Enciso to five years and three months in prison and one year of disqualification for the "embezzlement" of more than 58.8 million euros of public money from the Ejido City Council between 2002 and 2009 through a "business network" of subcontractors around the Mixed Municipal Services Company (Elsur), whose private partner was Abengoa.

The sentence is part of the 'Poniente' Case, the largest macro-cause investigated in the province of Almería linked to a plot of business and political corruption linked to the City Council of El Ejido (Almería), has its first judicial sentence after nine years investigation, 18 months of trial and 626 days until sentencing

The sentence, made public today, indicates that he committed a continuous embezzlement of public funds of special gravity in competition with a crime of continuous falsification of a commercial document. It acquits him of the crimes of passive bribery, prevarication, corporate crime and crimes against the Public Treasury.

The Third Section court also sentenced former municipal controller José Alemán to sentences totaling seven years and six months in prison and the payment of a total fine of 2.6 million euros for embezzlement and "clear" continuous passive bribery. In addition, it sentences him to 19 years of disqualification.

The mayor of El Ejido (Almería), Francisco Góngora, assures for his part that the City Council, appearing as a private prosecution, "will try to recover as far as possible" the "greater part" of the 58.8 million euros that the Provincial Court considers that he deducted from the public coffers under the mandate of Juan Enciso.

Along with Enciso, there is the "origin" of the corrupt plot due to an "excessive desire for money and the enjoyment of power", although the magistrates attribute a more relevant role to him in the corrupt plot and consider it proven that he received "bites" from close to 7.5 million euros.

The Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, which promoted the investigation that was exploited by the police in October 2009 with the intervention of the City Council and some twenty arrests, interested Enciso and Alemán in their final conclusions in penalties that amounted to 40 years in prison, and fines for an amount total of 23.2 million euros.

According to the ruling, which condemns 32 of the 47 people who came to trial, the public-private mixed company Elsur served, since its constitution, as a "parapet" to "spoil" the municipal coffers "favoring the interests of various groups outside the legally required public interest".

It indicates that the modus operandi was "subcontracting at exorbitant prices" with about twenty merchants, so that the fee charged by the Elsur mixed company to the Ejidense City Council was "always abusive" with respect to "the services provided for pavement conservation, sewage , distribution of water and its purification, lighting, or conservation of parks, gardens and green areas", going from the 47.9 that were initially budgeted to more than 171 million euros.

The precise sentence to indicate the "magnitude" of the embezzlement of public funds that the mixed company between 2002 and 2008 invoiced to the consistory since the amount "diverted to private hands" would amount to a total of 58,851,790.50 euros, which " represents no less than 41.67 percent" and represents "undoubted damage to public service" in areas "so essential for citizens.

The magistrates consider it proven that "all these illegal activities were consented to" both by former mayor Juan Enciso and by former municipal inspector José Alemán, who "ignored their obligations to monitor and control" public funds, also being president and CEO of Elsur.

The ruling states that Enciso "was perfectly aware of and consented to the illegal activities" of the joint venture and the "illicit profit" obtained by the private partner for "fictitious management support services for which they billed huge amounts for ' fee' and 'extra-fee' and concludes that he "ignored" together with the former controller his "obligations of control and inspection of the public funds of the municipality".

In the case of the mayor, the court does not consider it accredited that the income estimated at 671,000 euros obtained through a company incorporated with his wife, whom it acquits, "concealed donations or illegal commissions" and points out that there is not "sufficient" proof. , as the AEAT experts maintained in court, of obtaining "personal enrichment" through corrupt practices.

He rules out that he "prevailed" from his position or from the presidency of the Board of Directors of Elsur to "get jobs in Elsur or in companies that contracted with it or with the city council in favor of relatives or relatives", which "exerting pressure to achieve advantages for the benefit of people or businesses in their environment" or executing the works in a farmhouse-warehouse that they own "with Elsur's own resources such as workers, machinery or materials."

In addition, the sentence acquits Enciso's brother-in-law and his wife's brother, Francisco Javier Aguilera, of the crime of influence peddling, as it is not stated that the hiring by the City Council of him or his company, which represented income of "5.5 million euros" between 2002 and 2009, "was done with the aim of favoring the mayor's relative" or that the contracts were made irregularly or "included very advantageous prices for him and harmful" for the consistory.

The magistrates' assessment of the role of José Alemán to "enable criminal action" of the plot and how he benefited from it is different from those practiced in court. "He Not only did he relinquish his duties, but he allowed, in exchange for large financial perks, the events in question to take place," they underline.

It details that he set up, directly or through family members, companies with which to "profit illegally and thus obtain strong income" that he quantifies at 7.5 million and that he later "invested in creating an important real estate heritage, acquiring high-end vehicles, securities furniture and luxury expenses".

The sentence indicates that his "main mechanism" for obtaining income was the company that he calls instrumental, Sistemas de Dirección SL, with which he created a "fictitious billing assembly" with which he "simulated payment for services rendered" by of the companies in the plot that subcontracted with Elsur. He adds that Alemán "simulated" the salaries of this company's personnel to "make payments to family members."

The Provincial Court also sentences his wife, Isabel Carrasco, for embezzlement of public funds to a sentence of three years and three months in prison and nine of disqualification and another five months in prison and the payment of a fine of 431,000 euros for a crime of money laundering.