Guardia Civil implicate five current and former mayors in investigation
A SERIES of investigations have revealed the true extent of illegal building in Jaén.
A total of 230 people in eight towns and villages around the province have been implicated in the Guardia Civil probes, which has uncovered more than 105 examples of illegal construction.
Among those charged are the current or former council leaders of Torredelcampo, Baños de la Encina, Cambil, Quesada and Jamilena.
News of the investigation, which was carried out by the Guardia Civil, comes after the European Union voted for a resolution heavily criticising rampant construction in Spain (the Olive Press, issue 27).
The motion came after a fact-finding mission to Andalucía, Madrid and Valencia by MEPs Michael Cashman and Marci Lipicki, who described the relationship between certain local authorities and housing developers as “something out of the Wild West.”
The greatest number of implications was in the city of Jaén where Seprona officers, the Guardia Civil division which investigates illegal construction, charged 64 people with urban irregularities.
The investigation centred on the Bermejales housing estate, which the public prosecutor claims is built on protected mountain land. The housing development also invades a via pecuaria, a 125,000-kilometre network of ancient protected cattle roads.
Seprona officers, the branch of the Guardia Civil that investigates illegal construction, charged nine people who bought homes on the estate – including the community president – with building offences.
A constructor, who is believed to have been involved in the construction of the estate of two-storey houses, has also been implicated.
The public prosecutor’s office is now seeking to press criminal charges – which could lead to jail terms for those implicated in the investigation – and for the illegal homes to be demolished.
The situation is similar in nearby Jamilena. Fifteen people including PSOE council leader José Cazalla have been charged following a Seprona investigation into alleged urban irregularities in the town.
A Guardia Civil source told the Olive Press those at the centre of the probe are accused of building several houses on protected green belt land.
Thousands of illegal buildings
A parallel Seprona investigation has also seen the mayor of neighbouring Torredelcampo, Blas Sabalate, accused of illegal building. A total of 50 others have also been investigated in relation to the construction of houses on green belt land in the Megatín area of the town.
The Guardia Civil has also found supposed irregularities in Cambil, with 30 people including former mayor Agustín Cubillo (PSOE) under investigation for urban irregularities; Baños de la Encina, with 38 people including ex council leader Miguel Campillo (also PSOE) implicated.
In Quesada, 24 people including current mayor Francisco Vallejo (PSOE) have been questioned by civil guards for the construction of the El Llano housing development while in Jódar ten people have been accused for the construction of homes on protected land.
Officials fear the number of illegal constructions throughout Jaén may be as high as 4,000. The water authority Hydrographical Confederation of the Guadalquivir wants an investigation into the thousands of homes that are believed to be built within 50 metres of the province’s rivers – an area classified as public domain land under Spanish law.