The case of the illegal rubbish tip in Río de Miel (Nerja) has reached a sentence that has seen everybody acquitted.
This means that the Mayor of Nerja, José Alberto Armijo (PP), receives an acquittal just in time for the municipal elections in just over three weeks. The business owners that used the illegal dump have also received acquittals. In fact all eight persons standing as accused were acquitted.
However, the existence of the dump was completely illegal and it cost the Junta de Andalucía 1.6 million to clear it up, which is why the outcome of the case appears to be surprising, to say the least. It should be added that the Junta used EU funding…
An abandoned quarry that existed before the area was turned into the Sierras Tejeda, Almijara and Alhama Natural Park was later used between 1998 and 2016 as a dumping ground for building rubble and other waste. The dump is illegal because it came into being after the area become a natural park, catalogued as such for its natural beauty and to preserve the flora and fauna from human intromission.
The Mayor of Nerja considers from the start that he was not guilty and regrets that his family suffered during the years that the investigation process lasted. He says, “it was not possible that there could have been any reproach over political conduct or that of the business involved,”
During the trial the Mayor said that his administration had never promoted the use of the dump, shifting the blame onto a previous socialist administration (2015-2019). However, Mayor Armijo was firmly in the Mayor’s seat leading up to 2015, losing the 2015 elections after years in power.
He also said that the dump ” was not a political, social or environmental problem,” adding that ecologists had been “missing” over several years; by which he probably suggests that not even ecologists thought that it was a problem until they eventually did.
Reportedly, the judge even considers that when the Town Hall did decide on this spot during the building boom, it was a “positive” decision.
This sentenced was handed down by a court of the First Instance so the Public Prosecutor can appeal before the Provincial court, which is likely because this office expressed that it did not agree “in the least” with the sentence.
The illegal dump, the existence of which was common knowledge and required allegedly ‘turning a blind eye’ on the part of the Town Hall, covered an area of 36 football pitches and had accumulated 800,000 cubic metres of rubbish. The College of Industrial Engineers of Andalusia issued a report that put the cost of the clean-up operation at 10.7m euros – a long way from the 1.6m euros from EU funds that the Junta finally used.
So the very obvious question is, why was nobody found guilty?
(News: Nerja, Axarquia, Costa del Sol, Malaga, Andalucia)