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CM defends Financial Services Minister after Petty Debts summons

CM defends Financial Services Minister after Petty Debts summons

Wednesday 01 February 2023

CM defends Financial Services Minister after Petty Debts summons

Wednesday 01 February 2023


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”.

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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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Posted by on
'Kristina Moore commented: “Recent media reports about Deputy Ozouf relate to a private matter and are not linked to his work as a Minister.'

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.
Posted by Lesley Ricketts on
If you want a private life don’t become a politician!
Posted by Scott Mills on
this politician has previous, no one remember how he did towards the end of his last go at politics?
Posted by Gillian Gracia on
This really beggars all belief. If Deputy Ozouf cannot maintain high standards over his personal affairs how the hell can he be trusted to do so over the Ministry he is in charge of. Just imagine how people who are REALLY struggling from day to day will feel - the honest people who are trying to maintain some sort of normality in their lives? Sorry CM Moore and Deputy Ozouf you are not fit for purpose and should be leading by example, not any other way.
Posted by Brendan Flaxman on
Absolutely ridiculous. If the Minister cannot take care of his own personal finances how on earth can the public have any confidence in him in ministerial affairs. Is it any wonder that I and many others despair at the state of local politics. We had hoped for so much from this new government but all we get is more of the same. At least I won’t have to waist my time reading meaningless manifestos come the next elections.
Posted by Aston Francis on
Nadhim Zahawi got sacked for trying to evade paying private taxes and subsequently lying about private matters - right? What if one of Kristina Moore's team drunk drives a private car and hits someone after hours? Private? It is where the free media may play a role as they do in the UK and many other places. Integrity is not limited to public duties.
Posted by Ann Robbie on
I am a supporter of the CM but in this instance she has got it completely wrong. After Philip Ozouf's previous expenses fiasco I was amazed that he was even elected let along being given a ministerial position.
Posted by IanSmith97 on
We have a health minister and government which cannot get a hospital built despite spending scores of millions on it. We now have the delicious, and beyond parody, example of a Financial Services minister who (1) misused his States credit card (2) cannot manage his own finances. Have we entered the Twilight Zone here? Incompetence all round.
Posted by Frustrated Islander on
I used to work for a bank many years ago, going overdrawn was a sackable offence on the premise "if you can't manage your own money why should you manage monies for someone else". I don't see a difference here with Mr Ozouf
Posted by John Smith on
Maybe he should go back to using his States credit card....
Posted by David Kingham on
Well said Aston Francis, he must lead by example if he is to gain the respect of the voting public, which he has failed to do on numerous occasions during his chequered political career.
Posted by MarkJames48 on
Unbelievable, what an example set by the Financial Services Minister. Not surprisingly the the CM is defending him, they are good friends. Good old Jersey way strikes again! Well down Baliwick Express for bringing this to everyone’s attention.
Posted by Mike Pitman on
Maybe Christina Moore is in the wrong job too?
Posted by Michael Blampied on
It's really not a good look is it? Anyone sent the link to Private Eye yet?
Posted by john garner on
Does Ozouf have a reserved bench in the Petty Debt Court ...sort of like a family pew in church ?
Posted by Martin on
Agreed as above!

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?
Posted by on
It's interesting to see everyone get the hatchets out for Deputy Ozouf before they know the full facts.

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.
Posted by Lauren Thompson on
No, "private individual" you are wrong. An overlook of "a personal financial obligaion" could well be overlooked if this was a once only situation. It is not. The people of Jersey deserve so much more from their elected government.
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
Posted by Dave Mathews on
"Mr Ozouf has been off island securing our financial services industry future"

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.
Posted by on
Why isn't everyone that has commented on this article writing to the Chief Minister for a full investigation as to where 100 million of taxpayers money went to the hospital project and who were the benefactors of it?
Posted by Steve Liron on
The CM is really trying to defend the indefensible here. What is startling is Ozouf’s plea that this was some sort of oversight. The process by which X actions Y in Petty Debts is long winded, laborious and for many, too draining. It only comes after repeated attempts and reminders to obtain payment. An oversight? Really? And on three separate occasions?

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!
Posted by Ann Robbie on
I am a supporter of the CM but in this instance she has got it completely wrong. After Philip Ozouf's previous expenses fiasco I was amazed that he was even elected let along being given a ministerial position.
Posted by Steve Liron on
Private Individual is correct to be concerned about the £100mio. of taxpayer’s money which has “disappeared” in connection with the non-construction of our new hospital.

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….☺
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