Italian senate budget committee chairman probed
PdL lawmaker under investigation for alleged misuse of funds07 October, 12:08
Azzollini, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom (PdL) party, served for many years as mayor of Molfetta.
The prosecutor's office in Trani, a town located 20 km north of Molfetta, is investigating how 147 million euros in public funds - 82 million of which were from city coffers - were channeled into a project to build a port that has proved to be unfeasible, and whose original cost estimate was 72 million euros.
Public bids for building the breakwater and new commercial marina was set for April 2007 with project delivery in March 2008, but work never began due to thousands of unexploded war explosives on the seabed.
Prosecutors believe the Molfetta municipality knew of the ordinances as far back as 2005, yet falsely declared the seabed accessible during the public bidding process, which was then awarded to the ATI consortium of three large Italian firms: CMC, Sidra and Impresa Cidonio.
Investigators allege the municipality covered up the hazards of the project to move the public bid forward to channel and receive new public funds.