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L'Aquila mayor takes resignation back

Cialente quit over reconstruction-rigging probe

22 January, 13:10
L'Aquila mayor takes resignation back (ANSA) - L'Aquila, January 22 - The mayor of L'Aquila took back his resignation Wednesday 10 days after quitting when four of his team were implicated in suspected tender-rigging in the reconstruction of the Abruzzo capital that was devastated by a 2009 earthquake which killed 309 people and left about 65,000 more homeless. "I'm back...a new start, a new phase, I'm here to defend the city," said Massimo Cialente, who is not involved in the probe.

He said he had "come back to defend the city from ignoble claims that pigs are putting their snouts in the trough here". Deputy Mayor Roberto Riga was among eight people put under investigation on January 8 for alleged bribery in rebuilding contracts in the central Italian city.

Riga and the seven others allegedly took part in falsifying contracts of over one million euros and received bribes totalling 500,000 euros.

"I feel awful. I feel betrayed," said Cialente, who resigned three days later.

Two months ago a European Parliament inspector expressed concern at reports that some money spent on building homes in L'Aquila had gone to firms with links to the mafia.

L'Aquila shopkeepers and residents recently staged a public protest over government reconstruction pledges they said had not been upheld, leaving their city still "a ghost town" almost five years after the April 2009 quake, one of the worst in Italian history.