The director of the anti-corruption office, Jaime Far, says that an anonymous report has been sent to the office detailing information of alleged irregularities in allowances for members of the Balearic parliament. He explains that he has not yet had time to analyze this information in detail, but believes that there may be grounds for opening an investigation.
The allowances under suspicion are for deputies from Minorca and Ibiza as well as for some who live in parts of Mallorca. An issue to have been highlighted concerns claims made for expenditure every day. This is despite the fact that parliamentary business is concentrated between Tuesday and Thursday. Claims would appear to have been made for days that don’t correspond to parliamentary activity, and they can be as much as 1,200 euros. There are also suggestions that deputies from the other islands are claiming despite the fact that they habitually reside in Mallorca.
The anonymous complaint sent to Far’s office comes shortly after Parliament began to introduce greater control of expenses. For the first time, deputies have to report all their remuneration and allowances, and it would seem that this reporting mechanism has pointed to irregularities.
Parliament’s board is working on the prevention of abuses that are said to now being detected. There is a lack of clarity, for example, as to what is meant by attendance at parliamentary activities, while there haven’t been control mechanisms to stop abuses once they are detected.
For the most part, salaries are fixed. The president of parliament (the speaker) is paid 72,106.51 euros. For parliamentary group spokespeople and rank-and-file deputies, the salaries range between 57,949.92 euros and 67,449.90 euros. Members of the house who don’t have exclusive dedication to parliamentary work receive monthly allowances of between zero in August and up to 2,959.70 euros in November and December. On top of these allowances are daily expenditure and mileage.
Deputies claim on the basis of signing declarations of responsibility, meaning that they don’t have to present hotel or restaurant bills. This can result in their spending less and thus increasing the fixed monthly allowances.
It used to be the case that deputies were paid for attendance at plenary and committee sessions. The parliament board did away with this and opted instead for fixed salaries. It is still possible to claim for attendance, but there is no longer a situation which occurred in the past – deputies queuing to try and attend a committee meeting in order to replace a colleague who was missing.