CATANIA – Two officers of the Air Force allegedly instigated corruption in the story of the expansion of the Sigonella air base: with this motivation, the Public Prosecutor of Catania issued a precautionary custody order in prison against Matteo Mazzamurro and Giuseppe Laera, lieutenant colonel and lieutenant serving in the Third Engineering Department of Bari of the Air Force. “The complaint comes from a private person,” Catania prosecutor Carmelo Zuccaro said at a press conference. The investigations concern a NATO-funded proceeding.
The attempted corruption
The investigations, conducted by the specialized anti-corruption units of the economic-financial police unit of the Guardia di Finanza of Catania, focused on the administrative procedure of expropriation of an area of about one hundred hectares bordering the Sigonella base. The two officers of the Air Force, according to the findings of the men of the yellow flames, would have urged the owner of the land to pay a sum of money.
In exchange for the bribe, Mazzamurro and Laera promised the owner various advantages, such as a higher compensation than market values for the expropriation of the land, which from 18 thousand euros would have been valued up to 35 thousand euros; an enlargement of the same area to be expropriated, which in this way would have guaranteed a greater advantage to the private sector; quick recognition of the expropriation allowance, without the need to initiate disputes with the public administration.
The two public officials, in asking for illegal compensation for their interest in the practices, would have followed, according to the investigations of the Finance, a real tariff, which provided for a percentage from one to three percent based on the increase in value compensation for expropriation.
“Whoever has power abuses it”
For Agata Santonocito, deputy prosecutor of Catania, “the investigations we carry out have shown us that those who manage a more or less large power abuse it. Sometimes it manifests itself in a subtle way as in this case taking advantage of the weak subject. I really hope that citizens, when faced with indecent proposals made by servants of the state, refuse and denounce. In a period like this, with the arrival of funds from the NRP, this prosecutor will certainly not stand by ”.
“The investigation is much broader than the one we sent to the judge for preliminary investigations,” said Carmelo Zuccaro, Catania prosecutor.
“Today’s operation – reads a statement released by the Public Prosecutor of Catania – is part of the broader framework of the actions carried out by this Office and by the Catania Finance Police to protect public spending, through complex investigations aimed at protecting the ‘Treasury and to combat the most insidious forms of crimes against the public administration ”.
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