THE Junta is facing criminal charges for falsifying documents over the controversial Algarrobico hotel affair.
The state prosecutor has begun a probe into claims by magistrate Jesus Rivera that officials “crudely and blatantly” altered documents to legitimize the project.
Officials could face criminal charges if, as claimed, the paperwork led to the construction of the illegal 411-room hotel inside the protected Cabo de Gata National Park.
As we reported last year Almeria court believes that the hotel went ahead despite the plot of land being classified as C1 – or incompatible for urban use.
Rivera alleges that a criminal offence took place when Junta documentation was anonymously altered by pen, making it D2 – or land eligible for development.
“This just shows the scandalous behaviour of the Junta, an administration which has little regard for the law and its citizens,” said Pilar Marcos, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace.
This is the second blow for the Junta over the Algarrobico hotel in recent weeks.
After dismissing developer Azata del Sol’s eighth appeal against its illegality, the Supreme Court ruled that the regional government’s zoning plans for the park were “illegal” and would be “devastating for the environment.”
The hotel stands unfinished after Rivera ordered work to stop in February 2006. The following month, the Junta promised to demolish the hotel, but has since been trying to find a way to legalise the 22-storey complex.
In February last year the environment department suggested the plot be declared “degradable.”
This would permit future rehabilitation work on existing buildings “for the development of tourist activities.”
However, judges in Granada have suspended these plans, saying they “could have devastating effects on the environment of the Cabo de Gata park.”
The regional government has announced it will appeal the Supreme Court’s decision.