Orihuela’s Department of Infrastructures since October withholds the monthly payments to the successful bidder for the maintenance, conservation and repair of roads and public spaces in Orihuela Costa. The company, the Oriolana Zaplana Caselles SLU, passes at the end of the month the certifications with the work carried out so that they are paid, but the invoices, of 63,000 euros per month, The mayor of the area, Ángel Noguera (Cs), does not get to sign them, despite the fact that the municipal technician in charge of supervising the contract is giving them the go-ahead. The company has already collected the invoices for October, November and December, and yesterday it did the same with the January invoices, so the City Council’s debt with the winning company amounts to more than 252.000 euros. The company completed one year yesterday since the four-year contract was awarded, with the possibility of an extension of two more, for a total of 3,309,584 euros.
As explained to this newspaper by sources from the awardee in charge of maintaining and executing works on the roads of the urbanizations of the Oriolana coast, payment problems have occurred since the beginning of the contract a year ago. In fact, the first invoice was not collected by the company until July. But the withholdings of the payment by the mayor of Infrastructure have increased in recent months. In mid-January the City Council paid for the September certification, and now it owes them since October. The same sources complained that from the Department of Infrastructure “They reject our invoices without giving us a reason”, so they have already sent a letter claiming the money owed to them and will ask for default interest, a step prior to initiating legal actions to which they are willing to go.
From the Department of Infrastructures they explained that the retention of the payment of the invoices to the company, despite carrying out the work entrusted, is due to the fact that “it is perceived, not only by the mayor of Infrastructure, but also by the City Council staff in the Costa and the complaints from neighborhood associations such as FAOC or AVOCA, which The service is not being provided with the required quality despite the fact that the contract was improved with respect to the one that had been». In addition, they added that the mayor of the area, Ángel Noguera, will request a report from the technical supervisor of the contract on the fulfillment of it by Zaplana Caselles.
For its part, the company points out that “to reject the payment, an organization must justify it, and it is not being done, they do not give us the reasons that we must, supposedly, correct and we have many workers behind whom we are paying their payroll without us being paid for the work done ”.
“Hindrances and trips”
The winning company accuses the Department of Infrastructures of boycotting them. In a post that Zaplana Caselles yesterday uploaded to social networks on the occasion of the first anniversary of this contract, points out that they are receiving many “many impediments and trips” and “supporting so that our good work is not significant or visible.” Sources of the mercantile explained that the consistory does not supply them on many occasions the necessary material to do the work or takes it before they finish them. In the absence of the contract for the supply of materials being awarded, the specifications stipulate that the City Council must make it available to you. “They send us the cement maybe a day later or they give us two cans of paint and halfway through the job they take one away,” they complain. The contract stipulates that the company is in charge of the machinery “which is all new” and the personnel, and the supply of materials is the responsibility of the consistory.
In addition, it has not gone unnoticed that in the latest publications on some Facebook profiles of the Department of Infrastructures intended for residents of the urbanizations of the Oriolano coast, which states that they are official, the photographs that the company sends them appear retouched in a way very “shabby”, crossing out with white paint with a very basic retouching program the company logo, which appears on the vehicles next to the shield of the Orihuela City Council (which they do leave). “It gives us the feeling that they do not let us work so that the work is not seen and we can say that the improvements are not seen. They make it difficult for us to work ”, lament authorized sources of the company.
The contract for maintenance and repair of roads and public spaces in Orihuela Costa was controversial from the beginning. The current winner, Construcciones Zaplana Caselles SL., Was not the winner initially. This is the company that filed an appeal against which it was awarded in 2019, Los Serranos, for considering that the award was not fair. In fact, the Central Administrative Court of Contractual Resources, under the Ministry of Finance, annulled that award to Los Serrano from the contract, which has a cost of 766,000 euros per year for a period of 4 years plus 2 extensions (a total of 4,596,000 euros for the 6 years).
The court partially upheld the appeal of the company that came in second place, Zaplana Caselles, considering that the technicians of the hiring table – where there are no politicians – scored a quality mark that was not mentioned in the specifications or in the content of the evaluation criteria, for which it forced to subtract the point that was given to the successful bidder for this reason. And, in this way, the Department of Infrastructure, then also directed by Citizens, and the local government where the PP is also, had no choice but to give the concession to Zaplana Caselles.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.