Genoa - “The utmost collaboration with the judiciary.” A few hours after the collapse of the Morandi Bridge, everyone had promised their collaboration. But the interrogations have turned into a sequence of silent scenes, although perhaps the silence has not been total.
Press releases have continued to punctuate the silence, and so after a month and a half of investigation, on the eve of the hearing that will be held today, we can say that the blanket of “no comments” seem to cover almost everything, although this is perfectly legal.
The last act was staged with the right not to respond opposed by two key figures in the list of 20 investigated: the director of Autostrade’s Ligurian trunk, Stefano Marigliani, and his predecessor Riccardo Rigacci.Why key figures? They were the first managers (or former managers) of the company to have to deal with the prosecutors after they wound up under investigation. And then the management cast several shadows over them with releases to the newspapers. “It is necessary to clarify,” wrote ASPI on 2 September, “that it is neither the responsibility nor the right of the board of directors to make a technical evaluation of the projects, nor to establish urgency or greatest urgency (editor’s note: the reference was to the repeatedly postponed restructuring of the pillars).”
This evaluation is in fact an obligation of technical managers who are trained to commission [this work], who in such cases do not require authorisation from the board of directors and operate under no spending limits in cases of emergencies. In addition, the trunk director has the right and obligation to take unilateral action on the traffic issues resulting from any emergency situations.”
It was a clear message to which Marigliani had replied on the phone stating that no alarms were raised from those working in the field (i.e. the maintenance staff of Spea Engineering, a subsidiary of Autostrade).
To sum up: according to senior managers, the most important decisions were made by the trunk directors, who have succeeded one another over the years, and who yesterday remained silent before the public prosecutor, even though one of them had previously adopted a public stance.
And we mustn’t forget that the managing director of Autostrade, Giovanni Castellucci (who is under investigation), repeated in an interview to Il Secolo XIX that “there have been groundless assurances from engineers in the past.” In short, the senior management is pointing its finger at the Ligurian branch which in turn has made it clear - in the media - that it has never received any significant reports from the “operators”.
And from the latter, in recent days, various technicians from Spea Engineering have been obliged to respond as witnesses and have themselves mentioned the need to carry out generic “orders from on high”, closing the (short) loop. This is a clear change of perspective for the managers and for ministerial officials.
Before receiving the notice of guarantee, Liguria Public Works Supervisor Roberto Ferrazza spontaneously presented himself to the prosecutors, while in the months before the collapse, his subordinate, Salvatore Buonaccorso reported deficiencies in inspections, and after the disaster, his collaborator, Antonio Brencich, who is also a university lecturer, took a critical position on the matter.
All three are under investigation, the latter two preferring not to respond to the judges, the first not asking to be heard again. The hearing begins with expert testimonies that will count towards any trial: hundreds of participants are expected (20 persons under investigation plus two companies, each with lawyers and consultants, 137 injured parties with their lawyers) and security personnel.