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Mas: "The public tender system of the Catalan Government is flawless"

Current Catalan President, Artur Mas stated this Friday that "the public tender system of the Catalan Government is flawless. There are no mistakes nor possibilities to influence it in a partisan or personal way", regarding the accusations of bad practice in relation to assessing public contracts. Mas appeared before the Parliament to comment on the recent phase of the 'Petrum' anti-corruption operation, which investigates whether companies paid a 3% commission to the party foundation 'CatDem' in exchange for public contracts. "The CatDem did receive contributions from companies, it is legal, public and specified in many documents" stated President Mas "if we don't like the legal system, we must change it rather than criminalise it" and added that "other parties' foundations have also received commissions from these companies". Mas also slammed the Spanish Guardia Civil searches as "a show" that pursues "hurting rather than investigating".

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23 October 2015 01:56 PM

by

ACN / Sara Prim

Barcelona (CNA).-  Current Catalan President, Artur Mas, appeared before the Parliament this Friday to comment on the recent phase of the 'Petrum' anti-corruption operation, which investigates whether companies paid a 3% commission to the party foundation 'CatDem' in exchange for public contracts. "The CatDem did receive contributions from companies, it is legal, public and specified in many documents" stated President Mas "if we don't like the legal system, we must change it rather than criminalise it" he continued and added that "other parties' foundations have also received commissions from these companies". Regarding the accusations of bad practice in relation to assessing public contracts, Mas outlined that "there can't be any privileges" as the Catalan Government's criteria "are really demanding" and "are set to impede such privileges". Mas also slammed the Spanish Guardia Civil searches as "a show" that pursues "hurting rather than investigating".


A "flawless" public tender system 

"The public tender system of the Catalan Government is flawless. There are no mistakes nor possibilities to influence it in a partisan or personal way" stated President Mas before the Parliament.  He said this referring to the accusations of alleged bad practice in relation to assessing public contracts, which are being investigated by the Spanish Guardia Civil through the so-called 'Petrum' operation. "The Catalan government is a point of reference in terms of transparency" and one of the most demanding institutions "regarding the criteria for assessing public contracts" assured Mas. "Since 2011, the Government has made great efforts to transform the government into a more transparent administration" and the "mechanisms introduced to guarantee the good practice and the public access to information, have been a pioneer in Europe and acclaimed by the European Commission" he stated.

In relation to 'Infraestructures de le Generalitat', the public company in charge of assessing public contracts, Mas stated that "the technical proposals prevail over the economic ones". "The Catalan government establishes criteria which are even harder than those set in the Spanish law, which regulates the entire public tender system" he outlined, adding that "the technical proposals for those projects worth over 2 million euros are published and accurately evaluated" and they prevail over "the economic proposals". Spanish law establishes this criteria for less projects, only those worth over 5 million. "There can't be any privileges as the Catalan Government itself sets the mechanisms to impede such privileges"

"Anyone who seeks the truth, could find it perfectly easily" he stated. "If the Spanish Prosecutor Office and the Spanish Guardia Civil have the right to investigate, we have the right to explain that we do things well" he concluded. 

Mas: "To receive contribution from companies is legal"

In relation to whether companies paid a 3% commission to the party foundation 'CatDem' in exchange for public contracts, Mas made himself clear before the MPs. "The CatDem did receive contributions from companies, it is legal, public and specified in many documents" he stated. "It is legal" he emphasised. "If we don't like the legal system, we must change it rather than criminalise it" and added that "other parties' foundations have also received commissions from these companies" however "only CDC is suspicious and therefore investigated". "We have been observed under a magnifying glass for 10 years" he recalled "and there is still no sentence which could have proved anything".

"A show" rather than an investigation

"If there are any signs of irregularities being committed, there is the obligation to investigate them" admitted Mas but added the Spanish Guardia Civil searches at CDC and CatDem headquarters, and the arrests of the party's treasurer Andreu Viloca and former treasurer, Daniel Osácar, are "a show". "The fact that the media are warned well in advanced, and the fact they know how the investigations will evolve even before they actually happen is curious and suspicious" he stated ironically "it seeks to create a show" and thus "the aim is to hurt rather than to investigate". 

ERC urged Mas to "sort out" the corruptions scandals around CDC

Left-wing pro-independence ERC's spokeswoman Marta Rovira urged President Mas "to go until the end" and assume the "political responsibilities" for those corruption scandals affecting CDC. "Sort all this out" she stated, directly addressing the President. Rovira also proposed to change the Commissioner for Transparency, Núria Bassols, since she is linked to those arrested during the 'Petrum' operation.

PSC accused Mas of "playing the victim" to "shun responsibilities"

Catalan Socialist Party PSC's leader, Miquel Iceta, questioned whether Mas could keep his candidacy to run for Catalan President, because he is under "the yoke of alleged corruption" that affects CDC. Iceta also accused Mas of "playing the victim" rather than accepting responsibilities for the corruption cases.The PSC's leader also asked President Mas if he still trusted CDC's treasurers and the director of 'Infraestructures de Catalunya' after their arrests.

PPC: Mas has to quit for "political and ethical reasons"

Catalan People's Party spokesman, Santi Rodríguez, urged President Mas to "take responsibility" and renounce his re-election as President. "There are plenty of political reasons for doing so, now I employ ethical ones" he stated. Rodríguez also warned President Mas that he should not doubt the public assessments procedures but those within his party. "Watch your neck as you have stuck it out for so many people" he concluded.

ICV-EUiA to Mas: "It is not coincidence that you are in the middle of the drive"

Catalan Green Socialist and post-Communist coalition, ICV-EUiA's spokesman, Joan Herrera doubted whether President Mas did everything possible to avoid irregularities in CDC and criticised that he had repeatedly used Catalonia's push for independence as an excuse for his party being investigated. "It is not coincidence that you are in the middle of the drive" he stated. Herrera emphasised that Mas has nowadays "even less authority" and must "step back".

Ciutadans: Mas "can't be President"

"Somebody who was the right hand of former President Pujol [currently accused of fiscal fraud] and whose party treasurer is arrested, can't be President", stated anti-Catalan nationalism leader, Inés Arrimadas. "You have to be a rogue person to appear before the Parliament and try to make us believe that there is no corruption in the assessment of public contracts" she concluded. 

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  • Artur Mas before the Parliament this Friday (by ACN)

  • Artur Mas before the Parliament this Friday (by ACN)