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December 7, 2021

Architects who will design the new clinical center involved in a series of scandals in Italy

Author: Mence Atanasova Toci

The text was originally published on NOVA TV site on January 2nd 2015. Immediately after the announcement the editorial board of NOVA TV received a denial by the Ministry of Health. The remarks of the Ministry are herein. The denial is published in full under this article.

 

 

Antonio Savoino from the Italian company Aren Srl which won the tender for design of the new clinical center “Mother Teresa” was involved in a series of corruption scandals in Italy a decade ago, NOVA finds out.

Savoino, now 84, appears in the Board of Directors of Aren Srl, a company which is to design the grandiose facility in Macedonia, while managing director is his son David.

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According to Italian media, Antonio Savoino has been twice arrested for works related to construction of hospitals in Asti and Savona in Italy.

 

Architect Savoino is well known to the Italian public when as owner of the then company Protecne was arrested with several politicians involved in a big corruption scandal. Along with him were arrested the president of the province of Turin, Ezio Astore and Aldo Genta, right hand of Vito Bonsignore, secretary for the budget at this time.

 

This is how one of the most widely read newspapers in Italy, Corriere della Sera, reported the moment of Savoino’s arrest on April 28, 1993.

 

“Vice president of the Province of Turin, Ezio Astor, was arrested yesterday evening. Judges Corso Vittorio and Sebastiano Sorbelo were in charge of his arrest and they investigated the history of the contract for the new hospital in Asti worth 230 billion dollars. Aldo Genta, who until last spring was the right hand of Vito Bonsignore, current secretary for budget, was also arrested with Astor.

 

Architect Antonio Savoino, director of the company “Protecne” was also arrested. The former mason, as they call him, because of his acquaintances and friendships, had received commissions from many local health units in Piedmont and acquired a kind of monopoly. Savoino appears in the complex history of the new hospital in Asti as a member of the Committee for the transfer of contracts. He was arrested for the second time and in both cases on corruption charges (in October for violating the “Ivory auction”), it is said in the news published in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

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Did Macedonian authorities know about the past of the man whom they entrusted the design of the largest facility in Macedonian health with an area of 61,500 square meters? Is it possible not to not know anything about his past, when data is easily available online?

Researching this subject NOVA found the minutes of the Italian Parliament, dating from February 1993 when Luciano Violante of the Democratic Party of the Left asked the Minister of Health how Protecne company owned by Antonio Savoino had been awarded the contract for the construction and reconstruction of hospitals within the project for fight against HIV/AIDS.

 

According to the preliminary plan, Savoino’s company was to remove the old building and build a new hospital in Piedmont, and was to build a new laboratory. Although there was a possibility of construction of a new building, the company Protecne only reconstructed the existing one and no laboratory was built at all. The money ended up in the account of Antonio Savoino’s company.

 

As written in the minutes, the Left accuses that the architect was involved in other crimes, and the Minister of Health was indicted standing behind him.

 

In fact, the story begins when at that time the Ministry of Finance in consultation with the Ministry of Health entrusted hospitals construction works in three regions of Italy to Consortium CONS.OMI.

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To build a hospital specialized in infectious diseases CONS.OMI, that is the consortium, made up of companies Italsanitá and SVEI, engaged the company Protecne from Turin in which the only administrator, technical director and designer was architect Antonio Savoino. The project was presented to the Ministry of Health.

 

But the regional committee for public works in Piedmont expressed disbelief concerning the implementation of the project, due to incomplete planning, lack of analytical cost estimates and huge overhead costs.

At the same time, there was a sharp reaction by the medical director and the hospital staff of Amedeo of Savoy. Technical representatives disagreed with the proposed project despite pressure from regional councilor Makari, who was arrested a few days later due to his connection with construction of the new hospital in Asti. They pointed out the major drawbacks in the project, as well as interferences in implementation of plans regarding maintenance of the hospital and purchase of equipment and furniture.

The total amount for the construction of 50 billion Italian liras projected in 1990 doubled to fantastic 109 billion Italian liras.

Instead of building a new laboratory, Antonio Savoino just reconstructed the existing, money was on the account, and a new laboratory was not made. Approximately 300 free beds were placed in the morgue of the hospital which is without a pathological laboratory.

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In the document which NOVA found, it is said that architect Savoino was again arrested in an investigation initiated by the public prosecutor of Turin for the construction of a new hospital in Asti. And not only that, he was questioned in the investigation conducted over the construction of new headquarters of the National Institute of Electrical Engineering, and his name appears in the investigation of bribery in connection with the agreement of IACP of Turin, and in other judicial investigations in the field of health management of Piedmont.

The architect is charged with billions spent on dilapidated homes for the elderly, for seven projects by CONS.OMI in Piedmont region, for all projects that have been entrusted to Protecne or other companies in which directly or indirectly architects baton was in the hands of Antonio Savoino.

It is difficult to find out how investigations and trials completed, but from what the media reported at that time it can be seen that once he managed to get a suspended sentence of a year and eight months, another time a sentence of 2 years and nine months. Charges that were been brought against managers were numerous: bribery, bid rigging, violation of professional secrecy and abuse of power.

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For the design of the new clinical center in Skopje, Aren Srl won the tender in consortium with two Macedonian companies In Puma and Prototip. A year ago it was announced by Health Minister Nikola Todorov. But there is a third company which coordinates things, and that is Studio Krug Ltd, which has not been mentioned in public at all.

 

First two companies, In Puma and Prototip are no longer involved in the project. Unofficially, in In Puma they say that for unknown reasons they have been removed from the project, but do not want to speak publicly. Prototip has completed its part of the work, and the third company Studio Krug Ltd is still working on the project.

(The story was is supported within the NED project “Raising Awareness about Corruption through Investigative Reporting”)

DENIAL

Ministry of Health strongly reacts to the lies presented in the article “The architect who will design the new clinical center twice arrested in Italy”.

 

Ministry of Health HAS NOT CONCLUDED, we repeat has not concluded any contract with a company to build the new clinical center, because ongoing tender procedure is announced by CEB and the procedure takes place under the procurement rules of the Bank .

 

With the abovementioned company Aren Srl we have contracted a design of a basic project for the new clinical center under the Law on Public Procurement, and not for its construction, and in the tender dossier for this procurement there is full documentation of company’s business ability to perform this activity in accordance with the law.

 

As we can see from your article, the company Aren Srl has not been involved in the corruption scandal, but a company PROTECNE that the Ministry of Health has not concluded any agreement with.

 

Based on this, we would like you to apologize for presenting the lies and fully withdraw them”.

 

Department of Public Relations

Ministry of Health