Policlinico Sassarese, former president Piero Bua acquitted of tax evasion La Nuova Sardegna

Policlinico Sassarese, former president Piero Bua acquitted of tax evasion La Nuova Sardegna
Policlinico Sassarese, former president Piero Bua acquitted of tax evasion La Nuova Sardegna

Sassari As legal representative of Sassarese Polyclinic he ended up on trial on charges of having failed to pay the certified withholding taxes from 2014 to 2018, the year in which the composition with creditors was proposed. Yesterday morning Piero Bua he was acquitted – “because the act does not constitute a crime” – by the judge Anna Pintore who accepted the request of the defense lawyers Bruno And Giuseppe Conti. The prosecutor Antonio Pala he had instead requested a seven-month sentence.

The financial police, who in 2018 had examined the accounts of the Sassari Polyclinic with a magnifying glass, had found some anomalies. A long verification activity at the end of which it emerged that several million euros they would not have been paid to the treasury. For this reason, the joint-stock company that owned the Sassari hospital had come under fire and its legal representative had been reported to the judiciary.

The defense arguments which necessarily had as their starting point the direction of the Supreme Court regarding this type of crime were decisive for the acquittal sentence. The Supreme Court, in fact, is very rigid and, as the lawyers have underlined, requires that the business crisis was not caused by the entrepreneur and that, in the face of the emergency, the administrator has done everything in his power to resolve it, also drawing on personal resources. With the examination of the party’s technical consultant Gavino is missing – who analyzed the budgets and accounting of the Polyclinic – and with that provided by Bua, it was proven that the crisis was due to factors that were beyond the direct control of the administrator.

The lawyers retraced the various ordeals of the Viale Italia hospital which in the early 2000s «was left by the University without notice, after a long collaboration and the costs remained on the back of the Polyclinic. Ten years ago the Region had a change of direction by deciding to no longer pay the extra benefits. However, the Polyclinic had already faced the costs without receiving the compensation. Furthermore, the public administration (the only client) paid many months later, so the Polyclinic had always made use of the Bank which anticipated the payment of invoices. After 2014 the credit institution requires the company to return by taking out a mortgage, with further costs. These are the reasons for the crisis.”

In all this, what was the conduct of the administrator Piero Bua according to his defenders? «He immediately looked for investors, ready to sell even the majority shares in order to save the hospital, a project was created to access funding for 20 million euros (“Jessica” project, which would have created two new departments). Unfortunately, the regional health department was stuck for the signature which arrived at the deadline of the tender”.

The lawyers explained how their client still wanted to pay off his debts to the treasury: «He made installment payments and, for the entire time he was in “command” (2018), the installments were paid. Bua had been giving up his salaries as an administrator for years (when the hospital went bankrupt in January 2019, he had accumulated over 400 thousand euros in credits, consolidated in the balance sheet). He had drawn on his own resources to help save the second hospital in Sassari.”

In particular, the lawyer Bruno Conti, asking for the acquittal of his client “because the fact does not constitute a crime”, argued: «It is true that instead of paying the treasury on the deadline Piero Bua gave priority to employees and suppliers . But in reality there was no real “choice”. Bua was responsible for a structure that performed an essential public function, to protect the right to health. If the reasoning of the Court of Cassation can be valid for a commercial activity, which has consumers as its counterpart and sells products, in the case of the Polyclinic we are dealing with patients who need medical assistance. The treasury had not been paid to be able to keep a facility open which had 5000 patients a year and treated 1/3 of the total births in the province. Not paying suppliers (without gauze, scalpels, drugs you can’t cure) and employees (the unions were always ready to intervene) would have been equivalent to closing your doors.”

And then there was another relevant aspect: «Bua would have exposed himself to criminal liability for having interrupted an essential public and civil service due to contractual breach towards the public administration and the damage caused to anyone who had legitimately relied on the assistance of the Polyclinic».

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