The Anticorruption Prosecutor of the National High Court investigates possible irregularities in the hiring for the maintenance of fire trucks of the Generalitat. This research, which ‘El Món’ has advanced, aims to clarify how the contract system worked with the same company, Grupo Iturri, I charged for the prevention and repair of vehicles from the Directorate General for Extinction and Prevention (DGEPIS) in recent years. Last May, the Department of Interior ordered that the case be investigated and brought to justice. Thus, the information was placed in the hands of the Barcelona prosecutor’s office and of the Mossos d’Esquadra, but it has finally reached the National Court.
Despite the fact that for months the DGPEIS had pointed out the chaotic result of the contracts for the maintenance of the trucks, the trigger for the case was the message that warned that in the middle of March 2021 The balance of a contract scheduled until December would have already been exhausted. This economic management was accompanied by frequent abnormalities, such as the repeated use of the commercial figure of debt recognition, which is designed to settle the costs of a service that has exceeded the value of the initial tender.
The investigation, which uncovers irregularities from the end of 2016, also includes vehicle invoices with inconsistent data o la existence of Grupo Iturri workshops in the same fire stations in Cerdanyola, Valls and Calonge, when Interior did not have evidence of any agreement that ceded the use of these spaces to the company.
Termination of contract and new tender
The facts were brought to the attention of the justice shortly before the previous Catalan Government was dissolved, with the ‘minister’ Miquel Sàmper in front of Interior. Now, while Anticorruption investigates the case, the current head of the department, Joan Ignasi Elena, prepares the closing of a new contract that puts an end to the problems detected. Last October they rescinded the previous contract, which had been extended several times and which was the origin, in large part, of the lack of control in recent years, sources from the department point out.
The new tender is already underway and expects to have a new awardee in April next year. This new contract foresees an improvement in the economic endowment, since it is considered that it was previously under-financed, and establishes new control mechanisms to prevent the anomalies detected in the previous months from occurring.
While the new contract is not being resolved, to carry out the necessary prevention and maintenance tasks, Interior has been processing reduced awards and service contracts. In some of these cases, due to the particularity of the service and the specialization of the company, the Iturri Group has been chosen to continue offering its services. In other cases, those who have been done with the contracting of services has been a different company.