RESIDENTS and political parties are demanding answers after a Velez Malaga deputy mayor used over €9,000 of taxpayers money for a 12 day trip to Cuba.

Councillor for Business and Employment, Maria Jose Roberto made the trip last month to Havana, Cuba to take part in the XII International Congress of Higher Education.

Party member Jorge Perez (PP) however refutes the trip and claims that Roberto’s trip was a ‘waste of public money,’ and doubts the validity of her trip altogether.

Perez’s concerns stem from a powerpoint presentation that he requested access to covering the conference and Roberto’s stay in Cuba.

According to Perez, the file does not “include any document or graphic material that justifies the prolonged presence in Havana of the mayor and the person who accompanied her.”

Perez even doubts the idea that Roberto even attended the conference as there was no official record of her attendance.

What has become most concerning however is the receipts submitted by Roberto after she returned to Spain, receipts that total over €9,000.

According to the councillor, more than €3,800 was claimed for flights to Havana, an amount that he quickly dismissed as ‘over inflated’.

“You can see by looking at any travel booking site that this price is over the top.” said Perez.

€3,000 was allocated for registration and visa management and €2,100 was spent on subsistence and maintenance, again totals that have Perez baffled.

Finally, Perez also questions the need for the trip in the first place, as the conference was aimed at university teachers and scholars, a demographic that Roberto sits well outside.

“We are going to request the refund of the amount of this vacation trip and, of course, that all her responsibilities as councillor be revoked.” said Perez.

“It is important that the residents of Velez Malaga receive answers to why €9,000 of their money has been wasted on a ‘vacation’.

“We demand that deputy mayor Roberto and her party step forward and justify their actions in what is a clear display of impudence and cheekiness.” he concluded.

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