El Ejido townhall corruption case expected to start soon

The caso poniente, in which the Mayor of El Ejido and his buddies stand accused of stealing up to 250 million euros from townhall coffers, looks likely to start again soon and possibly be concluded by the summer after Hacienda pulled its finger out and started doing some work for a change.

It all kicked off back in 2009 when National Police under orders from a judge in Madrid swooped on the town and arrested the Mayor (Juan Enciso), the townhall budget controller, and loads of other people.

The scam was simple: Buddies of Juan Enciso would charge the townhall vast amounts for simple tasks (70,000€ for changing a streetlamp, for example), which he and the budget controller would sign off. In exchange, they got kickbacks.

The case has been waiting for Hacienda, the tax office, to finish their investigation. They have now told the Judge that they will submit their final evidence in Feb.

There are 77 people on trial in all, accused of bribery, embezzlement, money laundering, influence peddling, forgery and tax evasion-

Some have been in jail since 2009 as a flight risk, including the budget controller. Mayor Enciso, who was never removed from his post, was eventually released on bail in order to continue with his official duties as Mayor. Amazingly enough, he was voted back in during the next elections, although he didn’t manage to get enough votes to become Mayor.

Read more about Caso Poniente in the archives.

So far, 544 volumes of evidence have been submitted, totalling some 261,000 sheets of paper, along with some 461,000 megabytes of computer files.

Hacienda says that lack of resources meant they’ve taken almost 5 years to finish shifting through all the information.

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