The Prosecutor's Office investigates cases referring to eight adjudications of Provías Nacional and Provías Descentralizado, which represents 5.7% of the total of good pros granted by these entities during the administration of the former MTC syndicate ● The Public Ministry is considering expanding the investigations.
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Former minister Juan Silva is investigated together with President Pedro Castillo for the case of the alleged criminal network in the MTC. Photo: MTC/
Before the advances in the investigations and the increasingly consistent evidence of corruption in the Puente Tarata Case, millionaire irregular award made in the management of the now fugitive former minister Juan Silva, in different instances of the prosecutor's office, it is being evaluated to expand the investigation and include most of the Provías Nacional and Provías Decentralizado contracts granted in the administration of the aforementioned former head of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MTC).
In addition to Silva, in the tax investigation process –which began at the end of November after the revelations of the Investigation Unit of El Comercio– President Pedro Castillo himself, his nephew Fray Vásquez, former presidential secretary Bruno Pacheco, as well as former officials, businessmen and lobbyists have been included. In total, there are more than 20 people implicated for allegedly integrating a criminal network in the MTC to distribute works in the aforementioned sector organizations.
In the period in which Silva was minister, between July and last February, Provías Nacional and Provías Descentralizado were awarded more than 141 contracts for an amount greater than S/1,393,773,968 together, according to information reviewed and analyzed by this newspaper on good pros over S/100,000.
Of these contracts, 79 correspond to the category of services (maintenance of roads, preparation of technical files and others), 32 to consultancies for works (supervision of projects and preparation of studies) and 30 to works.
It is known that different offices of the Public Ministry are investigating eight contracts for works and services delivered by both MTC dependencies in the aforementioned ministerial management. That is, barely 5.7% of all good pros.
In Provías Nacional, where million-dollar contracts were allegedly awarded to Chinese companies irregularly –according to the version of the investigator Karelim López–, 85 contracts were awarded in the Silva administration (71 for services, 13 for project consultancies and one per work). The sum of these awards is S/934 million.
In this body of the MTC, only in the services category, the amount of contracts amounted to more than S/852.1 million. The good pros with the highest sums were awarded in September, October and November, when Silva had consolidated himself in the ministry and was unmovable due to the support he received even in Congress.
“During my tenure as minister, an important budget execution was achieved in 2021, the best in the last 10 years in the sector.”
Juan Silva Former head of the MTC
Due to the magnitude of the amounts of the tenders, the operators of the alleged criminal organization took actions to control and direct the selection processes in this entity.
A notorious case is that of Hugo Trece Gallardo, who was appointed head of the Conservation Subdirectorate of Provías Nacional after being recommended by businessman Zamir Villaverde, according to information provided to the prosecution by José Cortegana, former executive director of the organism. Thirteen served in that position between October 1, 2021 and May 9 last.
“[Villaverde] told me about the engineer Hugo Trece, so that he could occupy the position of deputy director of Road Conservation. So, I told him that the special committee, which is autonomous, sees that. To which he gave me to understand, without telling me directly, that he was there for the minister [Silva], who came from above, from the Government Palace”, he declared last April.
Cortegana stated that he did not agree to that request and a few days later he was removed from the executive management, with a resolution signed by then-minister Silva.
While Villaverde's recommendation remained in office, Provías Nacional awarded service contracts for S/632.8 million to consortiums made up of China Railway No. 10 Engineering Group Co. and China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation, as well as the China Railway company Tunnel Group Co., as revealed by El Comercio.
On the other hand, when opening an investigation into the former head of the MTC for the alleged crimes of collusion and organized crime, the National Prosecutor accused Silva of having influenced to benefit Chinese construction companies -in consortium with Peruvian companies- in seven contracts, for a sum total of S/804.5 million.
“The former minister Juan Silva Villegas would have made the decisions regarding the [seven] contracts indicated, after having consulted with the group of people with whom he had been discussing these issues [adjudication processes] in an irregular manner”, reads the fiscal document.
According to the sources, these awards have been under investigation by the anti-corruption prosecutor Mónica Silva since the end of February, after the dissemination of part of Karelim López's statements as an effective collaborator, who delivered to the authorities a list of works awarded to Chinese companies in the MTC.
The mother case
In Provías Descentralizado, the body that improperly awarded the millionaire contract to Consorcio Puente Tarata III and which gave rise to the emblematic case, there were 56 good proposals in total (29 works, 19 project consultancies and eight services). The amount of these contracts amounts to S/459.7 million.
In this dependency, the works item is the one that registers the highest amount High: S/417.9 million.
The contract with the largest amount of funds allocated was for S/232.5 million, delivered on October 22 to the aforementioned consortium, made up of the Spanish company Tableros and Puentes S.A., the Colombian H.B. Metallic Structures S.A.S. and the Peruvian Termirex S.A.C. In January, after confirming the irregularities reported in this newspaper, the award was annulled.
The investigations of the anti-corruption prosecutor Karla Zecenarro have established, so far, the responsibility of at least three former officials of Provías Descentralizado in the case of the alleged criminal network in the MTC that would be headed by President Pedro Castillo. Two of them, Édgar Vargas and Víctor Valdivia, former members of the selection committee for the tender, are being held on a preliminary basis, as is the businessman under investigation, Zamir Villaverde.
In an audio of a conversation between Villaverde and Silva, recorded on November 4 and whose content is being investigated by the prosecution, the former admits that he had irregular interference in tenders awarded by Decentralized Provías and National Provías.
“Juancito, and tomorrow confirmed for us, since the Tarata [bridge] race has been won. Yesterday and today two more races are being played. Of course, they are not big, they are 65 [million soles] and 64 [million soles]”, reads the audio transcript.
The businessman also made reference to the percentage supposedly allocated to the payment of bribes for each work: 0.5% with respect to the amount of the contract. In the case of the Tarata bridge, it is estimated that the money paid in bribes could amount to S/1.1 million.
Consulted by El Comercio, lawyer Luis Lamas Puccio considered it necessary for the prosecution to broaden its investigations, which leave aside 94.3 % of National and Decentralized Provías contracts awarded in the Juan Silva administration.
“These tenders must be verified, because if in some cases there have been indications of criminal responsibility, it is very possible that the same conditions exist in most other contracting processes,” said the criminal expert.
“Given the number of indications that the processes were directed, it seems pertinent to me that all the contracts be analyzed.”
Luis Lamas Puccio Criminal Lawyer
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Hiring in focus
- Provías Nacional
China Railway Tunnel Group and Consorcio Bellavista won service contracts for S/180.5 million and S/158.4 million, respectively. They are the ones with the highest amount in this entity.
The service contract with The largest amount awarded in Provías Nacional was granted to China Railway Tunnel Group.
Project awarded to the Bellavista Consortium , made up of China Railway No. 10 Engineering Group and Grupo Constructor y Consultor Asociados.
- Provías Decentralized
The Tarata bridge works, awarded for S/232.5 million, and a project in Loreto for S/64.4 million are the good proposals with the most funds allocated in this body.
The Puente Tarata III Consortium obtained the award for the work with the highest amount allocated in Provías Decentralizado.
The Loreto Road Consortium obtained the second project with the highest cost in Decentralized Provías. Contracts in the ministerial period of Juan SilvaProvías Nacional
< p>Work: One contract for S/10,692,138
Services: Eight contracts for S/72,134,265
Works consultancies: Three contracts for S/5,770,969
Services: Eleven contracts for S/270,947,333
Works consultancies: Five contracts for S/19,069,837
Services: Seven contracts for S /244,177,453
Works consultancies: One contract for S/9,088,260
Services: Seven contracts for S/242,574,809
Works consultancies: Two contracts for S/11,785,580
Services: Seven contracts for S/2,173,420
Works consultancies: Two contracts for S/25,453,721
Services: Eight contracts for S/2,706,192
Services: Sixteen contracts for S/17,464,161
8TOTAL FIGURESTotal sum in ministerial management of Juan Silva: S/934,038,138
Works consultancies: S/71,168,367
Contracts during the ministerial term of Juan SilvaProvías Decentralized
< p>Works: Two contracts for S/85'049,325
Services: One contract for S/290,160
Works: Three contracts for S/1 '834,201
Works consultancies: Three contracts for S/21,041,543
Works: Nine contracts for S/243,996,710
Works consultancies: Three contracts for S/658,853
Services: Five contracts for S/5,184,352
Works: Four contracts for S/18,901,595
Works consultancies: One contract for S/104,448
Services: Two contracts for S/1,351,000
Works: Three contracts for S/43,346,335
Works consultancies: Five contracts for S/5,486,161
Works: One contract for S/17,369,396
Works consultancies: Three contracts for S/3,905,488
Works: Seven contracts for S/7,514,177
Works consultancies: Four contracts for S/3,732,080
8TOTAL FIGURESTotal sum in ministerial management of Juan Silva: S/459'735.830
Works consulting: S/417'981.742