The Mayor of Mojacar, Rosa Maria Cano, has been indicted in a private criminal complaint of corruption launched by opposition party Mojacar Positiva se mueve (MPSM), lead by councillor Jessica Simpson. The complaint says the Mayor is stopping foreign residents from registering on the townhall register (padrón) and has attempted to misuse public funds to pay extraordinary bonuses to townhall staff.
The complaint has been lodged with the courts in a motion called a querella, in which private citizens bypass the standard denuncia system and directly alert the Judiciary of potentially criminal actions, requesting them to investigate directly.
There are two offences alleged in this lawsuit:
- Firstly, that the Mayor allocated public money from the 2014 budget, through an amendment to the budget, to make an additional payment to the employees of the council in the form of a bonus. This payment was attempted in May 2014 and MPSM denounces the Mayor for this act, as such bonus payments would be illegal. The town hall cannot provide benefits to employees in this way according to a number of different laws. In full knowledge that such payments could not be made, the plan to allocate the funds for the bonuses was nevertheless subsequently approved in a plenary session. Following advice from its lawyers, MPSM alleges that this, too, constitutes a crime of corrupt practice.
- Secondly, MPSM alleges that the Mayor imposed unlawful restrictions and impediments on the process of Mojacár’s foreign citizens registering on the padrón in the municipality. These restrictions had no legal foundation and led to neglect and lack of proper care of foreign residents at the time of registering on the padrón. At the time these offences were reported, MPSM presented a letter to the Mayor, noting these actions and warning that they might constitute an offence. No response was received to the letter.
MPSM was key in preventing the Mayor from granting all townhall employees an illegal bonus from townhall funds last year, by alerting the authorities to the action. The bonus was ruled to be illegal by the budget controllers and was later cancelled by the townhall after the binding ruling was issued.
Mayor Rosa Maria is one of the highest paid Mayors in Spain, who pays herself the maximum permitted under the law, some €54.000 a year. She has also enacted fierce anti-noise laws which have become the mockery of Spain (the playing of dominoes at night is banned, for example) as well as upholding the fining of a family €500 each for drinking water on the beach after she ordered Local Police to issue five times more fines than in previous years to bolster townhall coffers.
It has been a bad week for the townhall, after it was revealed that their bad administration has cost the townhall hundreds of thousands in grants for the latest part of the paseo marítimo.
MPSM leader Jessica Simpson said: “We are fed up with the institution of the Town Hall being used as a fraudulent political tool employed for personal and partisan interests outside of the law. Only by placing a complaint can we feel at peace.
MPSM has made this criminal complaint for these two alleged offences – to protect the rights of citizens in Mojacár , to ensure that public money is not used fraudulently in the interests of the Mayor and to guarantee that all citizens of Mojacár have the same rights and access to services and information.”