Aurora Jhardi, Palma's deputy mayor for public services and internal governance, has denied permitting "illegal" salary payments to Jaume Garau, a Palma police officer and the police force's union representative, who is heavily implicated in the ongoing police corruption investigation.
It has been suggested that Jhardi is herself under investigation and facing possible charges of contempt, misappropriation and abuse of power. This stems from what is said to have occurred after Garau was released from detention. He had been suspended without pay but in January presented sick leave documentation. This was apparently issued, as was the case with other officers under suspicion, by Doctor Gaspar Reda. He is being investigated as well, as he was granting sick leave without ever having had appointments with the officers in question.
After being released, he is said to have gone to the office of Angelica Pastor, councillor for public safety and with responsibility for the local police force, and asked for the suspension to be lifted. Pastor supposedly replied that she could not do this and demanded that he leave her office. Garau then sought an appeal, which the court dismissed on the grounds that the town hall had acted correctly.
Some time later, Garau apparently approached Jhardi and seemingly convinced her that he should be paid. The deputy mayor is said to have maintained the suspension but allowed him to be paid and to receive back pay. It is suggested that a court could now revoke that decision and insist that Garau returns the money. If he is not in position to do so, then liability for repayment would be with Jhardi.
She has responded to this version of events by insisting that she has no knowledge of such payments and that she never met Garau. Nor, she has added, did anyone else from her department. Angelica Pastor has also said that she did not meet Garau, pointing out that there was a restraining order on him.
Pastor has explained that Garau's suspension without pay preceded the issuing of the sick leave documentation, about which there is in any event suspicion because of the number of sick leaves authorised by the same doctor. The town hall has requested a review of all sick leave granted to police officers in seeking to assist the anti-corruption prosecutor and the court.
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