Operación Rubbish vs. Ex-Mayor

Saturday, September 9, 2017
By Martin Myall

NRJ Illegal Rubbish DumpThere is an enormous illegal rubbish dump in the Rio de Miel which contains 800,000 cubic metres of assorted rubbish, but after 16 years of alleged political corruption, something is being done about it.

The environmental department of the Guardia Civil, Seprona, is investigating 37 individuals in connection with the dump as part of the police operation, Operación Rubbish.

Amongst those being investigated is the present Mayor of Nerja, Rosa Arrabal (PSOE), and her predecessor at the post between 1995 and 2015, ex-Mayor José Alberto Armijo. There are four serving or ex-councillors belonging to the PP and two belonging to the PSOE and IU, as well. The Provincial Delegate for Environment belonging to the Junta, Adolfo Moreno, is also included. The rest are local businessmen.

The charges, if brought will be environmental offences, document forgery, fraud, belonging to an organised-crime gang and a long but less severe etc.

The existence of the dump goes back to June 1998 when ex-Mayor Sr. Armijo authorised ‘for reasons of urgent necessity’ the dumping of building waste and rubble on the said land, known as the old Valverde quarry, located at the lower end of the Rio de Miel riverbed.

The said land is publicly owned: i.e., it belongs to the Town Hall and it is also, by the way, located in the Sierra Almijara y Tejeda Parque Natural. For obvious reasons, complaints from locals and ecologist groups soon started pouring in.

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The Junta, with the speed of a striking sloth and the reactions of a dead rattlesnake, starting reacting, opening up three administrative procedures; in 2001, 2004 and 2005, all with the heading of: the creation and use of an unauthorised rubbish dump in an abandoned quarry, lacking all environmental-impact reports.

However, these administrative-sanctioning procedures were appealed against by the PP-lead, Town Council in Nerja, bless their cotton socks, who just happened to have an absolute majority in the said council. The reason? That they had simply authorised the dumping of rubble and building material to help fill in the abandoned quarry.

These administrative sanctioning procedures carried with them a fine of between 60,000 and 150,000 euros as the environmental offences were considered ‘very serious.’ However, just over a year after they were logged into the municipal registers; i.e., officially received, the Provincial Delegate for the Environment, Ignacio Trillo, considered that the looming fines had expired, which was rather convenient, some might consider…

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But the affair wouldn’t go away because the 2004 and 2005 administrative process were also in the pipeline. The Junta instructed the Town Hall to initiate legal proceedings in July 2004 and again in April 2005.

The Town Hall, still governed by the PP, again lodged an appeal within days each time and several months later the Junta itself declared them null and void because the legal time limit had expired.

So, how did the ex-Mayor justify this blocking tactic? Well, if you cut through the legalese, you get, ‘presumption of innocence’ and ‘unjust accusations’ levelled by a private entity. (ecologists)’

Then in 2008 the fourth attempt was raised to force the Town Hall to stop all dumping activity at the site and close it down but it met a similar fate, it seems.

But, as the Spanish say: a cada cerdo le llega su San Martín, meaning every villain meets his comeuppance. In this case it was in August 2016 when two bona-fide, waste-processing associations denounced the Town Hall before the Guardia Civil and Operación Rubbish was launched – the end of mere administrative procedures and roll out the heavy legal artillery.

(News: Nerja, Anarquía, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalusia)

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