Ministers should be judged by “how they perform in their official role” rather than their private lives, the Chief Minister has said after the Financial Services Minister received his third Petty Debts summons in just three months.
Deputy Philip Ozouf was this morning called before the court after St. Helier-based GP surgery Health Plus Ltd claimed that he had not paid a bill. The case was adjourned for four weeks.
The Minister had also been summoned in December over an unpaid St. Saviour Parish Rates Bill, and another of £2,500 relating to properties in Trinity - but paid both shortly before the cases reached court.
The latest summons came just days after the Chief Minister confirmed in a letter that Deputy Ozouf would be retaining the Financial Services portfolio, despite previously plans to hand this to its former holder, Treasury Minister Deputy Ian Gorst.
Deputy Ozouf did not provide a comment when contacted by Express and the JEP, but told ITV this week that the summons related to a “private family matter”.
He said an “oversight” had occurred in respect of a £179 bill, adding that “corrective action is being taken to ensure that if there are any other matters that have not been dealt with they will be”.
Pictured: Deputy Ozouf's listing on this week's Petty Debts hearing schedule.
As Financial Services Minister, Deputy Ozouf is responsible for leading efforts to prepare for an evaluation later this year by European monitoring group Moneyval, which is assessing the island’s compliance with international standards.
Asked about the message Deputy Ozouf’s recent Petty Debts summons may send to the finance industry locally and globally ahead of the key assessment, Chief Minister Deputy Kristina Moore commented: “Recent media reports about Deputy Ozouf relate to a private matter and are not linked to his work as a Minister.
“Ministers should be judged on how they perform in their official role, and Deputy Ozouf is doing an excellent job as Minister for External Relations and Financial Services – improving our relations with the UK, France and beyond, preparing for our Moneyval assessment and promoting our financial services industry.”
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What??? If the CM had ever worked within the Finance Industry she would know that any employee appearing in the Petty Debts Court may well be facing a disciplinary. I am unimpressed with this flippant attitude. Come on. This is the third time now so has gone beyond a joke.
IF his private life is in financial turmoil that is worrying as it makes him POTENTIALLY vulnerable to do things asked of him in public office for financial reward?
An overlook of a personal financial obligation can be forgiven in this case, especially when Mr Ozouf has been off island securing our financial services industry future, amongst all the other duties he is performing.
I don't think this is anyone's business but his own.
People's anger should be focused on the politicians who spent 100 million of taxpayers money on the hospital project and try to bring a court case against them for gross financial negligence of public money rather than start a witch hunt on Deputy Ozouf who has sorted out these private personal issues.
I respect Kristina Moore, and so far I think she is doing very well, but if she continues to back Philip Ozouf, I personally will lose all respect for her. I am aware they are friends, and she is possibly in a difficult position, but please, this is ridiculous.
I think Philip, you should resign, before you turn our government into a complete laughing stock
Is this a joke?
Bring back Ian Gorst into the position. At least he doesn't embarrass the Island with these sort of short sighted personal finance failures.
How many businesses might be owed money who can’t be bothered with all the time and trouble needed to secure recovery of a debt. Maybe therein lies the answer….
Integrity is not a tap to be switched on for work and off in your private life. You either have it or you don’t have it. He must fall CM or take you with him!
But what about the £500mio. which our wonderful States Chamber sanctioned in borrowing in 2022 to prop up the Civil Service Pension Scheme. That is half a billion quid or roughly £5,000 for every man, woman and child living on this island.
I doubt it stops there. If you were to open every cupboard in the States Building, it would be skeletons galore.
Btw. I did write to every States Member last year about my concerns over the States then proposed borrowing half a billion quid to cover the liabilities of what is basically a private pension scheme the rules of which state that it has no claim on the taxpayer if it falls into difficulty. Still waiting….☺