Gibraltar Community Care as a publicly funded registered charity has a duty to ensure full transparency and accountability. Its statement yesterday indicating that it considers it is under no obligation to provide a Member of Parliament with full details as to whom it gave an £85 million loan and why must raise serious concern; especially as the accounts delivered to the Charities Commission do not disclose this information.
Roy Clinton, Shadow Minister for Public Finance, will shortly be writing to the Principal Auditor requesting him to consider undertaking an audit of Community Care under section 61 and 62 of the Public Finance (Control and Audit) Act specifically in respect of investments and loans.
Mr Clinton said:
“I would remind the Directors of Gibraltar Community Care Limited that it was the GSLP/Liberals that made the level of its reserves a subject of political interest by referencing them in their 2015 Election Manifesto, calling them “Rainy Day Funds”.
It is unfortunate, therefore, that Gibraltar Community Care have chosen to be evasive by not providing the information that I asked for in the public interest.
The Government admits now that the figure of £100 million of reserves quoted by it as fact in 2015 was wrong and inflated by over 20%.
Furthermore, the Government are not increasing Community Care’s reserves, as in 2017/18 it granted it only £15 million, which is £5 million short of its annual costs of £20 million.
For these reasons, at the very least it is politically legitimate for the GSD Opposition to look into Community Care’s actual and projected financial position given the impact on the public purse.
Given that Gibraltar Community Care has received public monies and in turn loaned a large sum of public monies to an undisclosed entity, to what extent was the Government consulted or sanctioned the use of public funds in this opaque way? Or is it the Government itself that was the indirect beneficiary of this mysterious £85 million loan and now wants to keep it quiet?
In the circumstances and given that Community Care have been in receipt of GBP 187 million of taxpayer’s money in the 5 years to 30 June 2017 I feel it is my duty as a Parliamentarian to take this matter further by seeking an audit by the Principal Auditor.”