The Criminal Court No. 3 of Orihuela has confirmed prison sentences conferred on Orihuela’s former councillor of Tourism, Pepa Ferrando, together with five businessmen for fraud, relating to the contracting of the municipal exhibitor for four seasons of the International Tourism Fair in Madrid (Fitur) and one edition of the Tourism Fair held in the Valencian Community (FTCV).

The sentence, imposes penalties of between six months and two years in prison, as well as disqualification from public office for crimes of prevarication and fraud.

The judge said that it was proven that the accused, “with full knowledge of the arbitrary and flagrant unlawful conduct,” acted in concert “to defraud the public treasury, adding that the then councillor of Tourism, Pepa Ferrando,  in collusion with other parties, split the services relating to the operation of the municipal stand at Fitur in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 and at FTCV 2011, and divided the budget across various invoices that were issued by several of the businessmen who acted as a single business group.

This action “contravened consciously and radically the principles that inspire legislation on public sector contracting,” and caused a significant loss to the public purse.”

However the judge agreed to suspend the execution of the prison sentences imposed on the six accused and acquitted a seventh defendant for whom the accusation was dropped at the beginning of the hearing.

The ruling also recognises compensation of 149,697 euros in favour of the City of Orihuela that will be paid with the money consigned to the court by four of the defendants before the trial.