Li Pera is among the most controversial figures of the last forty years of Sicilian history: a good portion of the contracts awarded on the island between the 1980s and 1990s passed through his hands, those of the scientific division of public funds between companies, provided that they showed gratitude towards politics and the mafia. He was sentenced to two years and eight months for Mafia association in 2007
A confiscation For nine and a half million eurosthirty years after the announcement of wanting collaborate with justice. It is the parable of Joseph Li Pera73-year-old entrepreneur joined on Thursday by the provision of the Court of Caltanissetta which deprives him of his assets. Originally from Polizzi Generosa (Palermo), the surveyor Li Pera is among the most controversial figures of the last forty years of Sicilian history. From his hands has passed a good portion of the contracts organized on the island between the eighties and nineties, those of the scientific division of public funds between companies, on condition that they showed gratitude towards the politics and of mafia. A high-level criminal engineering network that had the top in Angelo Siinoa small building contractor to whom Toto Riina he entrusted the keys to the system that was supposed to make everyone happy, at the expense of the state.
Se Siino went down in history as the Minister of Public Works of Cosa nostra, Li Pera at least has the role of undersecretary. At the time he was area manager for Sicily of the Friulian company Rizzani De Eccher, the surveyor immediately demonstrated that he knew the context in which he worked: a land in which it was necessary to avoid doing “madness”, such as filing an appeal to contest exclusion from a contract. The races, on the other hand, were almost rigged. In 2007, Li Pera was sentenced to two years and eight months by mafia association. To link it to the direction of the division of works was also John Brusca, the boss of San Giuseppe Jato. To the magistrates, Siino and Brusca told that Li Pera had the right qualities to guarantee the maintenance of balances between businesses. It was the era in which the so-called pass was in force, the willingness to step aside once they learned that a contract had already been agreed upstream between the company and the contracting authority.
The sentence comes after in 1993 – following his arrest in the blitz born out of the Mafia and procurement dossier – Li Pera had begun to collaborate with the judiciary. From the protection program it was then voluntarily released In the 2001, with the intention of returning to being an entrepreneur in Sicily. However, his contribution to the investigations has always caused discussion and he has never fully convinced. “Not only has silenced his closeness to prominent subjects of Cosa Nostra, he also continued to look after their own interests business taking advantage of previous criminal contacts”, the prosecutors now point out, who in addition to the confiscation of assets would have wanted Li Pera to apply the special surveillance. On this last point, however, the Court expressed itself negatively, affirming the impossibility of demonstrating the current social danger of the 72-year-old. The elements in support of contiguity with Cosa Nostra stop in fact at 2012.
A few years earlier Li Pera had been the protagonist of a close contact with an old acquaintance. It was 2008 when the Sigi – one of the companies confiscated from the surveyor – entered into a contract with G-Riska security company which at that time took care of the construction sites of a company engaged in the construction of some wind farms in Sicily. Works that had seen the involvement, in the project development and start-up phase, of Vito Nicastri And Francis Scirocco; the former believed to be among the most powerful figureheads of Matthew Messina Money, the second an entrepreneur contiguous to the Mafia family of Barcelona. Legal representative of G-Risk was Joseph DeDonno, the former Ros captain from whose investigation the blitz that led to the arrest of Li Pera and Siino had started. The Mafia and procurement dossier, drawn up by De Donno himself, has returned to the headlines in recent years due to the delays with which the Palermo prosecutor’s office extended its gaze from entrepreneurs to politicians involved in the business system. An event that, according to some, could have influenced the acceleration of the attack against the judge Paolo Borsellino. Sitting on the board of directors of G-Risk, which has been in liquidation since 2018, was – after the contract with Li Pera’s company – also Mario Mori, the colonel who led the Ros. Mori and De Donno, in September 2021, were acquitted in the appeal process on the State-Mafia negotiation, with the Court overturning the first instance sentence. “We had a problem on the construction site and needed someone who could manage this activity. Li Pera was a competent figure and I trusted him. I was convinced had changed his life”, commented De Donno after the seizure of assets in 2020.