ROMA ARCHEOLOGICA & RESTAURO ARCHITETTURA: “ROMA SENZA CAPITALE – La corruzione politica è nuovo sport nazionale in Italia” – Rome council workers accused of renting luxury flats to ‘friends’ for less than £10 per month, THE TELEGRAPH (02|02|2016).
ROME – Rome council workers accused of renting luxury flats to ‘friends’ for less than £10 per month – City council rented out flats overlooking Vatican and Colosseum for as little as £7.50 a month, investigators say, THE TELEGRAPH (02|02|2016).
Rome is reeling from a new scandal after it was revealed that luxury apartments with views of the Colosseum and the Vatican are being rented out by the city council for as little as £7.50 a month.
Investigators have uncovered a vast system of political patronage in which nearly 600 flats, many of them in historic buildings, have been given to well-connected Romans for laughably low sums.
An internal audit team suspects that council officials were doling out the cushy deals to political allies, business cronies and possibly their own relatives.
An apartment owned by the city council in Borgo Pio, a district of cobbled lanes a stone’s throw from St Peter’s Basilica, was rented for just 10 euros a month, while another with views of the broad, Mussolini-era avenue that leads to the Colosseum cost a paltry 23 euros a month.
A residence in Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a thoroughfare which runs through the heart of the historic centre, was rented out for just 24 euros a month.
Rents in central Rome are sky-high and the apartments would have commanded prices of 5,000 euros a month or more on the open market.
The peppercorn rents were uncovered by Francesco Paolo Tronca, a special commissioner who has been running the city since Ignazio Marino, the mayor, was forced to resign over a personal expenses scandal in October.
Mr Tronca has vowed to bring to book the council employees who were responsible for maintaining the rents at such low levels.
“The rents were dramatically lower than the minimum market value,” he said in a statement.
Investigators would scrutinise the council’s entire property portfolio in search of illegality and abuse of office, he said.
“In the past, the practise was for the mayor to dispense properties to certain associations or social organisations, or to whoever he wanted,” Alessandra Cattoi, a former council official, told La Repubblica newspaper.
The council estimated in 2013 that it was losing tens of millions of pounds a year as a result of the peppercorn rent scam.
It calculated that a portfolio of 600 properties brought in just 2.2 million euros a year when it could have been earning 247 million euros had they been rented out at commercial rates.
A year ago Rome was engulfed in a much bigger scandal, dubbed “Mafia Capitale”, in which it was revealed that council officials colluded with criminal gangs to skim money off public works contracts, including rubbish collection and the running of refugee centres.
Dozens of officials and alleged underworld figures, including a one-eyed convicted terrorist, are on trial in Rome for fraud and embezzlement of public money.
FONTE | SOURCE:
— THE TELEGRAPH (02|02|2016).