STAFF REPORTER

PALMA

NATIONAL Police yesterday made another arrest of a Majorcan Unionist (UM) politician in a new alleged local authority corruption scandal.
Paula Cortes, ex Environment Coordinator for Palma City Council and Number 4 on the Majorcan Unionist (UM) list for municipal elections in 2007, was arrested as part of a new ongoing operation investigating alleged “financial irregularities” in local authority public funding.

The arrest of Cortes yesterday was the second in the case, after the detention of Catalina Payeras, the ex Managing Director of Employment and Training Institute (Imfof) for her reported role in alleged vote rigging for the Majorcan Unionists in the municipal elections of 2007.

Cortes had already made a statement to a court in Palma at the same time about her alleged role in the vote rigging allegations codenamed Operation “Maquillaje” (make-up) and denied that a local activity programme called Agenda Local 21 was used as a front for attracting Palma residents to the Majorcan Unionist party.

Declaring her own innocence, Cortes took the opportunity during her statement to point the finger of guilt at Cristina Cerdo, the ex Partido Popular (PP) President of municipal cleaning company Emaya and ex Environment Councillor, who claimed Cortes, had used her engagement with public organisations for political ends.

Meanwhile, Balearic government spokesperson Joana Barcelo expressed “concern” yesterday over this most recent of corruption scandals involving the Majorcan Unionists and said that the case “does nothing” to restore public confidence in the political system.

After a regional government meeting, Barcelo said that the suspicion of misappropriation of public funds has once again been raised and demanded legal authorities to act swiftly to expose wrongdoing.

She said that it has been a setback for those in regional government who have been doing “everything they can” to close loopholes in the law and promote monitoring of how public funds are handled. “All of us have got to ensure open, honest accounting,” said Barcelo.