Valenzano, city council broken up for mafia infiltration

VALENZANO- The Italian Cabinet has decreed that the city council of the southern Italian city of Valenzano has to be disbanded as it has been infiltrated by organised crime. According to the Cabinet, the ties between the mafia and the city council are ‘‘unequivocal, concrete, and conspicuous”.

Only last year, Valenzano witnessed the flying of a commemorative hot-air balloon which honoured one of the local mafia families (the Buscemi clan) during the festivities for the local patron saint, Saint Rocco. At the time this display of power was described by the Minister for the Interior Angelino Alfano as ‘’a grave and serious situation”.

It was from this scandal that a number of state inquiries and commissions were formed to investigate the political situation of this small town near Bari where, on Nov. 17, a team of investigators commenced their operations. After six months of work, the commission has concluded that the city council is infiltrated by the local mafia.

As outlined by, the commission created to investigate this case has indisputable evidence of the mafia having infiltrated the local city council, especially influencing the outcome of contracts for the supply of public goods and services, and using their position to embezzle money.

But according to Valenzano’s mayor, Antonio Lomoro, mafia and mafia ‘’clans’’ do not exist in his city. The dissolution of the city council is nothing but a political attack from a left-wing government against the centre-right democratically-elected city council, says Lomoro, who dismisses the charges as ‘’imagined’’.

Mayor Comoro had dismissed last year’s polemics surrounding his tolerating of the commemorative hot-air balloon with the same words. ’We have a long path ahead of us. We need to restore to the community, composed almost entirely of law-abiding citizens, tranquillity and good government.’’

The decision to dissolve the city council has been applauded and supported by the Italian Anti-Mafia commission.