On Friday 21st of April, we heard, read and watched all the newspapers and news reports that we would have preferred not to hear, not read and not watch. A principal, who was awarded the title of Cavaliere della Repubblica in 2020 for whatever merit, was arrested for corruption and bribery, for having, among other things, stolen from the school food, tablets and computers purchased with European funds. The prosecution was initiated by the European Prosecutors Delegates of Palermo Gerry Ferrara and Amelia Luise of the European Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), operating since June 2021.
The anti-mafia principal (so well known for her clear commitment to fighting crime) can be seen in the videos recorded by the cameras of law enforcement and put in the network intent, with another school operator, to steal food intended for the canteen, tablets and computers and store them in her car. In addition, according to investigators, she sourced from a single retailer and in return received a gift of smartphones and tablets. And again, she ordered crates of beer with funds reserved for the canteen (obviously they ended up in her cellar). All this despite knowing she was being investigated for mismanagement of European funds for educational projects that turned out to be phantom: she requested and obtained the funds but… the kids were missing.
The fact is worrying because it sees as victims the students and damaged this school, the Istituto Comprensivo Giovanni Falcone (of the problematic Zen district of Palermo), and the school in general, a place par excellence of education to legality. Maria Falcone, sister of the magistrate killed by the mafia, said: “An insult to the memory of my brother“. Not only that, it makes the whole of the school in a bad light, but also the vast majority of the school managers, teachers and all staff work honestly and professionally. At the same time, what has happened confirms the need for a European Public Prosecutor’s Office to combat crime against the European Union budget.
The fact leaves us with even more bitten in the mouth because it came to light a few days after the conclusion of the STEPPO course, which saw the participation of lawyers, university students and high schools in the field of guidance activities (PCTO).
The bad event has strengthened our conviction on the importance of the STEPPO course to raise awareness of the European Prosecutor’s office and to promote education on the law and the fight against crime.
We are even more convinced of the contribution that the course STEPPO can make and more motivated to organise the STEPPO 2024 course.
Author: Alessandro Fumagalli (PCTO)
Subcommittee: High School
Corriere Della Sera: Palermo, arrestata la preside antimafia Daniela Lo Verde: rubava cibo in mensa e tablet per gli studenti.
Giornale di Sicilia. Il ministro sospende la preside arrestata, Maria Falcone: «Un insulto alla memoria di mio fratello».