The Mendoza Court of Accounts (TCM) found that the city council (HCD) of the Municipality of Luján de Cuyo paid salaries to people who reported not having worked in the legislative body nor have received any income. As explained by the watchdog, payments were made in cash or bearer checks thus facilitating this situation.

This is a ruling of the inspection body that was issued in October on what it called a "premeditated and armed criminal maneuver" that occurred in 2006. The facts: Temporary employees who have not demonstrated their employment or "whose rendering of service was not accredited by the council."

The Court decided to press charges on the President of HCD and some councilors, claiming that through a special procedure the Council "hired employees avoiding the Human Resources office, appointments were taken by members of the governing body."

The agency said that "there was no control on assistance or schedules, making it impossible to prove the actual provision of service", they "omitted the appropriate functions that the designated staff should do, no controls to verify compliance with their obligations were carried through", and "did not cite any file in stating the conditions of compatibility and suitability for the position." Even in terms of the tasks performed and the fulfilled time, "there is no report for each agent in particular."

Some cases detected by the Mendoza Court:

• Neither the city council nor the councilors credited the provision of three employees, "totaling $ 7.259.94 of gross salary." Two of them reported by affidavit that they “did not work for the HCD."

• 15 additional agents, who "represented a total of $ 31,694.37," did not submit the affidavit testifying the effective discharge of their duties, so they were considered an "unjustified expenditure."

• There were 12 cases in which "the signature on the payroll sheets and justification of their duty was missing." Between all the employees their salaies totaled $18,730.79.

The Mayor’s Disclaim

The Court of Auditors of Mendoza found that the Mayor of Luján de Cuyo and his Treasury Secretary were not involved in the case, inter alia, through ignorance, and because his term began in May 2006. Nevertheless, in his defense, the Communal Directorate said that "the HCD considered any attitude control of the executive as an intrusion; not wanting to provide information," adding that "every employee responded exclusively to the Council who had hired them.”

The Sanction

According to the irregularities, the Court of Auditors decided to press charges "for $ 71,494.99 to the Honorable Council President Sergio Abraham". This means they are liable to pay compensation for the damages. Moreover, the Undersecretary HCD underwent the same fate, for $ 5,835.63, and, $ 5,835.02 for councilors Ruben Orlando Corvalan, Sofia Lidia Knoll, and Claudio Daniel Rosello.

Also, the agency decided to "impose a fine of $ 5,000.00 to Laura Noceda, the Municipal Accountant, and $ 3,000.00 to Luis Quagliarella, Director of Human Resources", for "not having fulfilled their functions of legality with each payment order. "