Incalza probe sees 'two decades of systemic corruption'

Ex-official 'ruled infrastructure ministry for decades'

(supersedes previous)(ANSA) - Rome, March 18 - Prosecutors investigating former senior official at the transport and infrastructure ministry Ercole Incalza said Wednesday the suspect oversaw "systemic corruption" on a massive, endemic scale.
    Incalza was arrested Monday on suspicion of corruption in connection with large-scale public works contracts worth millions of euros.
    "This is not a story of ordinary corruption but a scenario of devastating, systemic corruption in the management of major public works contracts," prosecution papers said.
    They described "a criminal organization of exceptional breadth that has affected the flow of State financing for at least two decades". Prosecutors said Incalza held on to positions of power for over 30 years, de facto ruling the ministry currently headed by Minister Maurizio Lupi.
    "In spite of the fact that he retired at least a decade ago, (Incalza) remains to this day at the head of a ministry with the same decision-making powers (as a minister), albeit under the guise of a singular job description as consultant to the minister," Florence prosecutors wrote in their pretrial custody request. They added most of the actual building of public works is usually carried out by "myriad subcontractors that are often contiguous with mafia criminal elements". For example, a contract to dispose of construction debris from the new Florence TAV high-speed rail line went to companies headed by a firm "that is close to the Casalesi" Camorra mafia clan, according to prosecution papers.


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