For decades now Gibraltar has been plagued by rumours that corruption and bribery is rife in public life. The reality is that no one has been prosecuted, let alone convicted of any crime in any way connected with this type of behaviour (that I recall anyway). Rumours of this type are destructive and give Gibraltar a negative image. They give Gibraltar generally and public life in Gibraltar, specifically, a bad name. That being the case it has always struck me as odd that politicians and governments over the years have not wanted to do anything to dispel these negative and destructive rumours.
The problem/issue of corruption was recognised in Hong Kong as long ago as 1974. On the 15th February of that year the then Governor of Hong Kong, Murray MacLehose, established the Independent Commission against Corruption. Admittedly the situation that reigned in Hong Kong at that time was very different in that corruption was rife and it was known to be rife. This is not the case in Gibraltar.
The situation in Gibraltar is different. The situation here is that we are plagued with rumours "de buena tinta". The reality is that there is no proof of any wrongdoing. It is all borne of a culture of "wink wink nudge nudge" we all know what is happening but lets not rock the boat. However, this is by far the best reason why Gibraltar should have a similar Commission to establish once and for all that these rumours have no foundation.
Undoubtedly there are already common law and statutory offences covering crimes of both bribery and corruption. The responsibility of investigating such offences falls on the Royal Gibraltar Police (RGP). The reality is that the RGP are already overly burdened with all types of other more in ones face crimes. Corruption and bribery require a more specialist type of investigation, a more focussed look. It would also be wise to revise existing laws and ensure that they are brought up to date and meet international standards. This is presently happening in the UK.
It would be ideal to have a commission of the type established in Hong Kong which would need to be fully staffed and have full investigative powers. It would receive and investigate confidential complaints. It would be entitled to investigate of its own motion. Over a period of time it would establish definitively that no corruption existed in Gibraltar. Alternatively it may find that the rumours are not unfounded, as I believe them to be. In the latter eventuality the transgressors would need to be delat with appropriately and prosecuted.
In short it would be a win win for all. Greater faith in public servants and ministers would be instilled as the destructive effects of rumours are dispelled. If any transgressor are found, faith would be restored in the establishment by cutting out any such despicable behaviour. I can see no downside for government, public servants or the public in general arising from the establishment of such an independent anti corruption commission.