Friday, July 1

Science spends more than 37,000 euros on a car for one of its foundations




For the first time in twenty years, the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (Fecyt), an institution of the Ministry of Science created to bring scientific knowledge closer to society, will have a vehicle of its own for the use of its director, the journalist Imma Aguilar, and other positions of the foundation. The Ministry of Finance, on which Parque Móvil depends, has given the green light this month to the purchase of a tourism for an amount of 37,364 euros (VAT included) through the renting modality. The new hybrid car purchased will mean an extra monthly fee for the foundation’s coffers of 643 euros per month, as it appears in the State’s contracting documentation accessed by ABC.

This expense had never been necessary in the time that the institution has been working. In the procurement document itself, its purchase is justified because the foundation linked to the Ministry of Science “is not included in the scope of application of the motoring services provided by the State mobile fleet” and, therefore, does not have the right to have official car. For this reason, it is said, “it is necessary to have an adequate means of transport to be used by the management and staff of Fecyt in order to facilitate the fulfillment of the travel obligations derived from the performance of their duties.”

The trauma that Fecyt drags

Fecyt has a controversial past with spending on transport in charge of the agency’s accounts. One of its directors, José Ignacio Fernández Vera, appointed during the Popular Party government, had to resign when excessive spending on travel was discovered. Fernández Vera left his post after learning that he could have spent almost 25,000 euros in two years on high-end car rentals with a private driver to travel from Madrid to Salamanca, his hometown, as well as other places in Spain for the performance of his duties. .

“This was something very irregular and ethically reprehensible, a trauma that creeps in at Fecyt and is also one of the reasons why we have requested the purchase of the car in an absolutely transparent process,” justifies Imma Aguilar, current director of the foundation. «It is not an official car like other institutions havebut an incident car. He will not be alone at my service, nor will he look for me at my house. It will be in the foundation and it will be used for the travel of those who need it, prioritizing my agenda, “insists Aguilar.

The new car will also have a driver to facilitate travel between the Fecyt headquarters, in Alcobendas, on the outskirts of Madrid, and the city center “where there are continually” issues to attend to. Aguilar is not clear if the purchase of the new vehicle and the hiring of a driver will mean savings compared to the current expenses in taxis and parking, “But it will make our work easier”. Aguilar insists that a privilege has not been granted and has been acquired with money from Fecyt “in the same way that you buy technical material or a videoconference system.”

Public funds

Pedro Navarro, spokesman for Science and Innovation of the Popular Party in Congress, believes it necessary for the Minister of Science and Innovation, Diana Morant, to explain the reasons for this unnecessary spending. Navarro was already critical of the appointment of Imma Aguilar at the time. “Changing a scientist for a journalist demonstrated the importance that then-Minister Duque gave to Science,” he recalls this newspaper.

In his opinion, the independence of an entity that is now in charge of advising the Congress of Deputies on scientific matters was put at risk. “With this new decision, unfortunately, he agrees with us, showing that his interests are different. The specification itself recognizes that Fedyt’s management does not have the right to use an official car, so it seems to us an irregular behavior to use public funds to circumvent that rule.

The foundation was created as an organization to disseminate science and promote scientific culture in the country. Among its objectives is to promote social participation in favor of R + D + I and to support the internationalization of Spanish science.

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