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Together Gibraltar reacts after GGCA questions 'corruption' claims

Johnny Bugeja

OUT AND ABOUT: Together Gibraltar candidates talk to members of the public during an outreach event in Casemates yesterday.

The GGCA union yesterday called on Together Gibraltar to explain the basis on which one of its candidates claimed corruption was costing the Gibraltar economy up to £117m annually.

The union was reacting after Siân Jones, a former advisor to the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, said during a debate on GBC that Gibraltar lost between £59m and £117m as a result of corruption, and that "much of that is in the public sector".

"Is this suggesting that civil and public servants are somehow involved in corrupt practices?," the GGCA asked in a statement.

"If so, on what basis is Ms Jones making such an allegation?"

The GGCA added: "In relation to the allegation of ‘corruption, inefficiency and maladministration’ it is unclear whether Together Gibraltar is aiming such comments at the civil and public service."

"If so, the GGCA once again calls on Together Gibraltar to reveal the basis on which such comments have been made, especially since to date, the only organisation that has carried out any sort of review within civil service departments, whether on public efficiency or resources, is the GGCA."

PARTY RESPONDS

Last night, Together Gibraltar said Miss Jones’ comments were made in the context of a debate on GDP and the macroeconomic impact on the economy of Gibraltar.

In a statement, the party said that “rooting out corruption, cronyism and nepotism” was at the core of its policies and that recognising this was an issue in Gibraltar was necessary both to tackle it and to ensure prudent management of the economy.

"Ms Jones made no specific allegations but confined her discussion to budgetary impact and Together Gibraltar policies relating to corruption, cronyism and nepotism, and proposed action to tackle the problem, if elected to government on 17 October,” the party said.

“Together Gibraltar's estimate of £59m to £117m a year loss to the economy are within the bounds of OECD corruption data.”

“Like other budgetary estimates, the figures help inform better policy-making, in this case, allocating £25m over four years to the creation and operation of an independent AntiCorruption Commission, £10m of which will be in the first year of a Together Gibraltar government.”

Together Gibraltar said that ignoring this issue was “morally and ethically wrong” and economically unsustainable, with problems coming to the fore in times of economic stress.

“Eventually, the system fails, and collapses like a house of cards,” the party said.

“The savings to the economy resulting from tackling corruption will be reinvested by a Together Gibraltar government in health, care, welfare, the environment, education and job quality, especially in the public sector.”

“The private sector will also benefit significantly by releasing funds for investment in productive technology-led industries.”

“Together Gibraltar estimates of up to £100 million a year lost to the economy from government inefficiency and maladministration are similarly made from a macroeconomic and budgetary perspective are within the bounds of World Bank figures.”

“Inefficiency is unproductive, wasteful and diminishes the quality of everyone's life.”

“By its elimination and redeployment of human and other resources into better service delivery, Together Gibraltar will improve the quality of public sector jobs and reward those who bring positive impact, however large or small, to the community at large.”

“Public sector headcount does not need to grow, and will certainly not need to shrink, in order to meet increasing demands for better and wider public services.”

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been corrected. An earlier version of this article quotes Ms Jones as saying Gibraltar had lost between £59m and £117m as a result of corruption, and that "much of that is in the public service". In fact, she said "much of that is in the public sector".

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