Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The 1990s were the years of the GIL era on the Costa del Sol. Marbella’s maverick mayor, the late Jesús Gil y Gil, made the streets of the jet set resort safe to walk whilst the criminals were emptying the town hall’s coffers.

Gil and GIL eventually brought Marbella to its knees. His cohorts elsewhere on the coast carried out similar hatchet jobs on towns such as Estepona, where the son of Jesús ruled.

Up the hill in Gaucín they did not need Jesús Gil as they had Francisco Corbacho. The local doctor turned mayor won election in 1999 as an independent but was supported by first PSOE and then the Partido Andalucista.

After the last local elections PSOE and the Partido Popular formed a coalition to keep Corbacho out. This unlikely alliance soon unravelled and last September Francisco Ruíz split ranks with the PP, was installed as mayor backed by the Partido Andalucista, with – surprise, surprise – Corbacho as his deputy and the power behind his throne.

Eventually the wheels of justice have caught up with Corbacho. He escaped a jail term but was barred from office for misappropriating town hall funds and obstructing justice. He was able to continue as a councillor (and deputy mayor) whilst his case went to appeal. The higher court upheld the original decision and last week he finally resigned.

Now it emerges that the Málaga prosecutor is seeking an 18 month jail term and a ten year bar from holding office for Corbacho. Also implicated in the case is the municipal architect Francisco Arenas who faces the same penalties along with councillors, past and present, three from the current PA ruling group.

The case revolves around the issuing of ten licences by the mayor and the architect to build on land that is zoned as non-urban. The architect is involved because it is alleged that he approved of the issuing of the licences even though they infringed the planning law.

The news broke days after the socialist opposition at Gaucín town hall denounced the Partido Popular mayor, Francisco Ruíz, for allowing two large mansions to be built on rustic land both owned by PA councillors. One is a house of 400 square metres that is being constructed for a family member of - Francisco Corbacho.

Slowly but surely justice is catching up with Corbacho. A resident of Gaucín told me that when he made alterations to his home he had to make a payment to the mayor – I am sure it was for a legal licence! I also remember his father in despair when he had to mortgage his farm home to raise the money to back pay Corbacho’s municipal debt.

I have raised this matter before because when living in the neighbouring municipality I supported the Partido Andalucista as it stood up against the local socialist ‘mismanagement’. Now I would vote for Izquierda Unida as both PSOE and the PA locally are tainted with corruption. Here lies the problem. I accept politicians are human but when all parties seemingly act illegally eventually you loose faith in democracy. When that time comes, then the options are very dangerous indeed.

(To whom it may concern – Gil is pronounced Hill in English)


Anonymous said...

I was listening to BBC News who stated that many Israelis would not vote because of the corruption amongst their politicians. People have core beliefs - they are left,right centre and so on - tragically their politicians in most nations are just crooks.

Anonymous said...

Gaucín is just up the hill from Jimena, presumably your 'neighbouring municipality'. There are, or soon will be, similar problems here, though not quite so blatant perhaps. But then we all know which way sewage flows, don't we? Sometimes, though, it's difficult to step out of its way - especially when you're trying to build a house that is probably illegal to start with; and there are too many illegal homes built on the mountainside in that municipality and this, alas.