Finance police on Wednesday arrested five people on suspicion of vote-buying in Palermo municipal elections and Sicilian regional elections in 2012. The suspects, who include two Sicilian regional councillors, a former MP and a finance guardsman, are accused of receiving or promising money or jobs in exchange for votes. Also on Wednesday, finance police searched the Sicilian regional assembly and seized documents from the regional budget committee chaired by Nino Dina, a councillor for the centrist UDC party and one of the arrested suspects.
Also arrested was Giuseppe Bevilacqua, who ran unsuccessfully for office in 2012 Palermo municipal elections and subsequently “offered” the 1,000 votes – which he allegedly obtained thanks to his Mafia connections – to Roberto Clemente, a city councillor who was running in the regional elections.
Wiretaps revealed Clemente, who is also under arrest on electoral corruption charges, agreed to make sure Bevilacqua replaced him in office at the local level in exchange for the votes – a deal he later reneged on. Bevilacqua also “capitalized” on his position in a charitable foundation by selling donated food destined for the indigent.