Six arrested in new Rome city bribery scandal
ROME -- The Eternal City has once more been embroiled in scandal as more members of the capital’s council were arrested for corruption in an enquiry into the management of funds for the camps of the nomadic Roma population. The alleged offences include corruption, falsification of public documents and bid rigging.
The period under investigation is that from the end of 2013 to March 2014 and has landed four of the Coop entrepreneurs in handcuffs, and a municipal official and a policeman under house arrest.
Whilst this latest development is not part of the “Mafia Capitale” investigations, it does have certain similarities – as with every corruption story, it includes bribes, favours, and presents for ‘white-collar workers’ of Rome, even including the usual assumption of a relative.
The investigations that brought about the arrests turned up evidence of the mishandling of contracts concerning some of the capital’s nomad camps that brought about large sums of money. However they also included theatre tickets, a necklace, and even the purchase of a digger, given by the Coop businessmen who were trying to sweeten up officials in order to win contracts for the renovation of various camps, including those of Castel Romano and Via Candoni.
Roberto Chierici, Massimo Colangelo, Loris Talone and Salvatore di Maggio are the Coop officials implicated, whilst those under house arrest are City of Rome councillor Alessandra Morgillo, and policeman Eliseo de Luca.
After the bribery the contracts were indeed won, without competition, after the Coop officials submitted a request with false signatures that they managed to slip past Capitoline officials by backdating the documents. Many of the works in the camps were not even carried out. In return, one of their daughters was hired and another received the publication of an advertisement for his relative’s dental practice.
The investigation began with a series of phone call interceptions in which some of the inhabitants of the Roma camps recounted the collusion between the businessmen and the public officials. It was then discovered that some of the bribes were even handed over in the Capitoline offices, where an episode was filmed in the department of social politics – where a sum of 3,000 euros up was handed over.
Newly elected mayor Virginia Raggi has publically thanked the public prosecutor’s office.