A court in San Cristóbal de la Laguna (Tenerife) has asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation for prevarication of the former president of the Canary Islands and current senator Fernando Clavijo. The reasoned statement sent to the High Court -the only judicial instance that can charge a senator- follows the opinion of the prosecutor in the case, who sees evidence of a crime in the actions of the secretary general of the Canary Coalition in his time as mayor of La Laguna ( 2008-2015).

The decision has been adopted within the Reparos case, which takes its name from the core of the alleged criminal activity: ignoring the objections that the municipal auditors made to the conclusion of various contracts. The reports “definitely contrary” to the extension or continuity of the contracts were ignored by Clavijo’s decision, according to the investigation.

“The facts investigated,” says the brief sent to the High Court, “could constitute a continued crime of administrative prevarication that was allegedly committed by Mr. Clavijo during the years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 as mayor of the municipality of San Cristóbal de La Laguna and would have done so overcoming objections formulated by the Municipal Intervention in a reiterated manner and without being subject to the administrative procedure in terms of the rules that must govern the administrative contracting of the municipalities.

In the 130-page document, Judge Ana Serrano-Jover exposes the contracts and the negative reports of the intervenors, which pointed out numerous irregularities. These ranged from the extension of contracts when they had already expired or the signing of new contracts with the absence of fundamental requirements such as fixing the price or clearly determining its purpose. They also resorted to presenting minor expenses as contracts that were not, thus eluding various controls.

After reviewing Clavijo’s political career, the judge concludes that with his experience he should have known perfectly the scope of his actions. “We are dealing with a person who has held various positions in the public administration for almost 20 years, so it is very difficult to think that he is unaware that the basic pillars of Administrative Contracting are respect for the principles of freedom of access to tenders, publicity, transparency, discrimination and equal treatment, just like in the year 2022, we could say that any average citizen knows it”

“We also understand that it is difficult for a person with his professional career to be unaware that the issue of the term of contracts is one of the principles on which the Contract Law is based, apart from that of concurrence or that the provision of contracts is not carried out definitely by the same company”, he adds.

The letter recalls that the extensions represented an economic loss for the municipality, since a rule had been approved that indicated that, given the difficult financial situation, the new tenders should reduce the amount between 15% and 20%. With the contract extension system, this saving was eluded. “I was aware that it could be causing damage to the municipal coffers,” says the judge.

The letter to the Supreme closes by recalling that in various plenary sessions opposition councilors warned him of what was happening and that a quarter of the budget was spent going over the objections of the auditors. The criminal case ended up being opened due to a complaint by the PSOE councilor Santiago Pérez, who today is, like Clavijo, a senator by autonomous appointment.

Now the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme must decide if there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation against the senator. The crime of prevarication detected by the judge and the Prosecutor’s Office punishes “the authority or public official who, knowing of his injustice, dictates an arbitrary resolution in an administrative matter.” The prevaricating resolutions would be the dozens of decrees with which he circumvented the objections of the technicians.

The penalty that could be imposed ranges between nine and 15 years of special disqualification from employment or public office. If he were convicted, it would mean the loss of his current senator status. Clavijo was already in the hands of the Supreme Court for another investigation -the Grúas case-, but finally the High Court ruled out his accusation.

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