Illegal building victims told to pay up

LAST UPDATED: 8 Mar, 2011 @ 09:35
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JUDGES in Granada have ordered almost 100 residents of Cenes de la Vega to hand over almost 200,000 euros of their own money in compensation after it was discovered their homes were illegally built.

The provincial session of the National Court heard how construction company Avila Rojas “stole” 2,500 square metres of scrub land to build the 96-house La Colina I estate in 1994.

After the accounts of Ávila Rojas were frozen following the arrest of managing director José Ávila Rojas earlier
this year on corruption charges, lawyers representing the owners of the land decided to seek compensation from the existing residents of the housing estate.

Judges decided the 96 residents of the estate should pay 195,000 euros – a sum of over 2,000 euros each – to compensate for the land, which is owned by construction company Roma Accion.

The president of the La Colina I community, Rafael Pantigas, said: “It is unjust that the humble residents of this estate have to pay this amount of money when we are not to blame.”

He added the residents would demand the money from Ávila Rojas, who was detained on charges of bribery during the second wave of Operacion Malaya – a crackdown on illegal building in Marbella.

Meanwhile, a regional political party has denied claims one of its councillors lobbied the mayor of Cenes de la Vega on behalf of a constructor who was also arrested in connection with the Marbella town planning scandal.

Partido Andalucista (PA) provincial secretary José Antonio Espinar dismissed allegations that David
Rodríguez – the sole PA representative on the town’s council – pressured the mayor to reclassify 35,000 square metres of rustic land in the municipality.

Officials from the town’s PSOE socialist party claim Rodríguez acted on behalf of the land’s owner, Tomás Olivo, who bought the land in 2001 to build housing and a shopping centre. But the town hall classified the land as green belt by a vote of 8 to 13 during PGOU urban expansion plan discussions in 2004.

It is believed Rodríguez was one of those who voted against the plan.

Following a meeting with Rodríguez, the PA provincial secretary said: “I am absolutely sure our councillor in Cenes de la Vega did not act in favour of Olivo.”

He also demanded evidence from the PSOE that claims Rodríguez abused his position as a public servant.

Olivo was detained on charges of bribery during the crackdown on town planning corruption in the Costa del Sol resort of Marbella earlier this year. He was released wit charges after paying bail of 500,000 euros.

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