Independent MP Marlene Hassan-Nahon has responded to a statement issued by the trustees of Calpe House in response to questions she had raised about the charity and the purchase of new building in Norfolk Square.
Ms Hassan-Nahon said the charity’s statement had been “extremely aggressive and indignant”.
“They have taken great pains to appear ‘shocked’ that an elected member of parliament might inquire into the management of public monies or the interests of the Gibraltarian people, who donate en masse to an extremely noble and sensitive cause, and deserve full transparency and accountability in return,” she said.
“Furthermore, the trustees’ reply, despite its misguided tone, does very little to clarify the points that were raised in my press release, and seems only to serve the purpose of creating confusion and inhibiting the entirely legitimate work of a public servant.”
Ms Hassan Nahon said she had raised her concerns with the Charities Commissioner in Gibraltar and was told he could not speak to her about it.
She also hit back at the charity’s suggestion that it would keep it legal options open in respect of any comments she made about Calpe House.
“Asking questions of a public body cannot be considered to be tantamount to defamation,” she said.
“Requesting an investigation into a matter of public interest, where public monies are used both in the form of donations and through Government funding, should not be alarming to anyone if there is nothing to hide.”
“I will therefore be taking the trustees up on their offer to answer my questions and will be sending them a list of the issues I feel need clarification, and the basis for my concerns.”
“I will also be providing the Charities Commission, both in Gibraltar and in the UK, will full details of my concerns so that they may decide for themselves whether an investigation is necessary.”
Mrs Hassan Nahon has now sent a 16-page letter setting out detailed questions for the charity.
The Independent MP also directed questions at the Gibraltar Government, asking for clarification as to why it denied any role in the management of the charity even though it owned 51% of the building.
“The Government can no longer attempt to wash its hands of this issue,” she said.
“I therefore invite the Government to give serious consideration to the issues raised in my letter to the trustees and reconsider their somewhat knee-jerk decision not to carry out an investigation into the management of Calpe House and the circumstances surrounding the purchase of the new property.”