Accounts of Govt-owned companies are transparency ‘fig leaf’, GSD says

Accounts of Government-owned companies published by the Gibraltar Government last week are a transparency “fig leaf” that raise more questions than answers, the GSD said.

In a statement, the Opposition said the accounts were mostly draft and unaudited balance sheets with no income statement, directors’ reports or notes, rendering them “of no value to the public” nor to provide any assurance.

In publishing the accounts, No.6 Convent Place said they provided “a level of Government transparency never enjoyed before in Gibraltar”.

But the GSD remained unconvinced.

“The information placed online in respect of the 55 listed companies being mostly draft unaudited balance sheets serve of no practical value to the general public let alone professional accountants,” said Roy Clinton, the Shadow Minister for Public Finance.

“In order to meet the standard of transparency and accountability full audited financial statements need to be published together with a directors’ report so that the public can understand what each company does and with whom it transacts.”

“Ideally the full audited consolidated financial statements of Gibraltar Investment (Holdings) Limited the ultimate holding company is what is needed.”

“Of the 55 companies listed, 30 or more than half, were created by this GSLP/Liberal Government since 2011 and thus they need to accept full responsibility for these if these are out of date or not been prepared.”

“Questions arise in respect of the position of Gibraltar Joinery and Building Services Limited which at 31 December 2022 shows a total deficit of £26.5 million despite an advance of £23 million from the Government since 2019.”

“The only up to date full set of audited financial statements available are for those of Credit Finance Company Limited which is owned by the GDC, and yet significantly omitted from the published list are the full audited financial statements for Gibraltar Capital Assets Limited - available at Companies House - also owned by the GDC which holds the £300 million mortgage on the six housing estates.”

“The Chief Minister’s ‘directive’ is nothing more than a fig leaf to try and pretend the GSLP/Liberals are committed to full transparency in our public finances and in fact raises more questions than provides answers.”