Mineo CARA (Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers): One migrant found dead

L’Urlo – Another dead person at Mineo CARA (Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers). The dead person is an adolescent, who was found lying on the ground behind a building of the hosting center. This is also were the on-site inspection of the Caltagirone prosecution took place. The investigation does not exclude any possible scenario.

Previous cases

Anthony Yeboah died on March 16th, 2012. Five days earlier, he was admitted to the hospital in Caltagirone. He died from a stroke. A few days earlier, he was released from hospital. The asylum seeker was hospitalized on March 9th, that is a day before his condition worsened.

On December, 14th, 2014, a twenty-one-year-old Eritrean died at the Hosting Centre for Asylum Seekers. The young man was found with a rope around his neck in a residential building of the Hosting Centre.

Currently, there are more than 4000 asylum seekers in the Hosting Centre. Despite the promises of Italian Secretary of the Interior Alfano to speed up the processing of applications for asylum, it seems that little change has happened to this day. The number of violent episodes that become known is rising. A report from January, 31st, covers the case of a young woman who was subjected to violence for 90 days.

Bribes cast a shadow on CARA

The commissioning in question concerns the administration of the Mineo CARA. This hypothesis is confirmed by several monitored conversations of Luca Odevaine. He is the contact person of Salvatore Buzzi, king of social co-operatives, and was sent to prison in the course of the “Mafia capitale” investigation due to his relations to Massimo Carminati, who heads “Cupola nera”. The name of the Mineo Hosting Centre comes up frequently in the thousand-pages-long addendum of the arrest warrant signed by Roman prosecutors. The account of Odevaine, if it turns out to be true, unveils the potentially biggest scandal in migration administration. The most recent bidding for administration, last July, had a value of 100 million euros alone. Odevaine explained in monitored calls how the bidding took place and who won. The Carabinieri’s investigation revealed the connection between Odevaine, a member of the awards committee, and the director of the Calatino consortium, in which those municipalities around Catania are represented that became, after the province, the “executive body” of CARA, as well as the connection to the managers of Cascina, supplier for “Comunione and Liberazione” and part of these insider deals. Cascina won the bid but also had already administered some services at CARA since 2011. In a conversation with his tax accountant, Odevaine said about the bidding for Mineo last July: “We have to do the bidding now… We announce it, then, I will return to the committee to win the bid, whereupon we can say that it is sufficiently assured… It will be difficult to award it to someone else, no, come one, it is nearly impossible.”

The mega-contract was awarded to the clique of the previous administers. This clique consists, besides Cascina, of Sisifo, that has relations to the league of cooperatives, the Casa della Solidarietà (House of Solidarity) of Arciconfraternita from San Trifone, led by Tiziano Zuccolo (who, according to another wiretap operation, has business with Buzzi in Rome), Senis Hospes and Sol Colatino. In a conversation with his tax accountant, Odevaine also explained how the first bidding in 2011 took place. In this conversation he names the ex-president of the province Giuseppe Castiglione, who was appointed “executive organ” of the Mineo CARA by Minister Roberto Maroni. Castiglione, in his role as president of UPI (union of the Italian provinces), recommended Odevaine for the national round table for migration and assigned him the job of the adviser for CARA. According to the investigators, these are two key positions for what they call “system Odevaine”. The adviser told his tax accountant regarding the first bidding for the administration of CARA: “When I drove down there, Castiglione picked me up from the airport. He took me out for lunch, and when we arrived at the table, there was only a single empty seat… and I realized that the person who would eat with us would be the person who won the bid.”

The investigators do not know who Odevaine is talking about. In another conversation, however, the arrested adviser told how the “system” originated in 2011: “I told him [Castiglione; note from the author] that we need to create a strong group… I already talked about it with the guys of Arciconfraternita in Rome, and they have merged with the guys from Cascina in the meantime… for this, I introduced them to Castiglione and that has become of it.” And again: “Castiglione has come a lot closer to Comunione and Liberazione… Comunione and Liberazione structurally support all these things of Alfano and the Center-Right.” Furthermore, Ovedaine claims to have received consideration in return for his role and for bringing Cascina to the Mineo CARA: “They paid me 10,000€ per month for Mineo as… let’s say: levy.” In consideration of the fact that, in the meantime, the occupancy of the Mineo CARA has doubled, from 2000 to 4000 migrants, he adds: “No, it can’t be the same amount… and, thus, we moved on to 20,000€.”

Vincenzo Barbagallo

Translation: Annika Schadewaldt