The Provincial Court of Murcia sentences Pedro Antonio Sánchez, former president of the Region of Murcia, to 3 years in prison, a fine of 3,600 euros and 17 years and 3 months of special disqualification for public office or employment. He is considered the author of two crimes of prevarication, the first continued in competition with one of falsehood, in relation to the project of the Puerto Lumbreras auditorium when he was mayor of the town. Likewise, it condemns Caridad G., the accidental secretary of the town hall, and the architect, Martín L., as necessary collaborators in the crimes of prevarication, to the penalty of special disqualification from public office or employment for 15 years and 6 months, the first, and 16 years and 6 months, the second.
Walk among the architectural corpses of Pedro Antonio Sánchez in Puerto Lumbreras
The court considers it proven that Pedro Antonio Sánchez, when he was mayor, commissioned the architect Martín L., “orally and without any prior contracting file” a project to request such help. And, later, once the help has been obtained, to call the competition for projects, “totally conditioned to the fact that the winner was the architect”.
In relation to the second crime of prevarication, the Chamber notes that once the subsidy has been granted, when the architect detects “that there was technical and economic infeasibility in the execution of the project” he communicated it to the mayor and together, with the municipal official, “they agreed the preparation of a modified project that would allow the investment of the subsidy to be justified before the Autonomous Community and prevent reimbursement, even if this meant leaving the work unfinished”.
Finally, the sentence acquits the former councilor of the crime of fraud against the Public Administration of which he was also accused. “The facts reported above do not fit into this typicity, since the approval of the modified project was not intended to defraud the City Council. (…) The only will that was had when the modification was approved was to save the errors created since the drafting of the project and this in order to justify the investment of the subsidy and avoid the requirement of reimbursement ”, explains the resolution.
As stated in the sentence throughout its more than 150 pages, the oral commission was completed with the drafting by the accused architect of the “Preliminary Project for the Auditorium Theater” in June 2006 and the subsequent “Basic Project for the Auditorium Theater” in November 2006. same year, to be built on a plot on the Southeast Bank of the Rambla de Nogalte, with an execution budget of 6 million. Process in which no other could participate and projects that, according to the proven facts, did not have “registration entry at the City Council and were not endorsed by the College of Architects.”
The Chamber declares the nullity of the agreement of the Local Government Board of September 17, 2010 approving the Modified Project of the work, but the magistrates do not rule on the possible effects of this declaration, understanding that they must be studied in another jurisdiction and not the penalty
And, regarding the action of the Puerto Lumbreras City Council against ECISA for the amount to complete the works, up to a maximum of 2.2 million, as requested by the Prosecutor’s Office, the court recalls that the defense of the municipal corporation withdrew both the requirement of criminal and civil liability. And he emphasizes that the Superior Court of Justice determined that “the reception certificate is not false in itself, since what was actually built was received.” Therefore, the ruling does not make any pronouncement on the civil liability of the construction company and, finally, acquits the representative of ECIJA.
The resolution requires the three convicted to pay a part of the costs incurred, not including those of the public prosecution, taking into account the number of crimes being prosecuted. Specifically, 3/13 parts to the declared author of three crimes and 2/13 parts to the co-authors of two crimes of prevarication. The sentence is not final and against it it is possible to file an appeal before the Supreme Court and not before the Superior Court of Justice, since it is the procedure prior to Law 41/2015, the resolution clarifies.
First beneficiary of the Criminal Procedure Law
The ‘Auditorio case’ was not the only legal case that Pedro Antonio Sánchez has had to face. The former head of the Murcian Executive also has another open case in the courts of Lorca during the processing of the construction of a nursery in the municipality of Lumbrerense. In this case, he is being investigated for an alleged embezzlement of half a million euros.
In another process, the ‘Pasarelas case’, he was acquitted because the judge allowed the six-month period of investigation in criminal proceedings filed by the Popular Party government to pass in 2015, against the criteria of judges and prosecutors. He was the first beneficiary of the Criminal Procedure Law approved by his own party. ‘Pasarelas’ was a division of the ‘Auditorio’ case, where it was investigated whether contracts were divided to be awarded by hand and without a public competition to the architect ML, who was also acquitted. The Prosecutor’s Office and two accusations understood that both Sánchez, in his then capacity as mayor of Puerto Lumbreras, and ML, had committed the alleged crimes of prevarication and documentary falsification in the contracting in relation to that case.
On the other hand, in July 2020 the National Court confirmed the dismissal for Sánchez of the Púnica case. The former Murcian president was investigated in the separate Murcia part of this case for alleged crimes of administrative fraud, prevarication and falsehood in an image laundering campaign when he was in charge of the Murcian Ministry of Education.