Embattled minister loses Geneva elections

Gérard Ramseyer came out last in the election Keystone

Geneva's controversial minister for police and justice, Gérard Ramseyer, has not been re-elected in Sunday's cantonal elections.

This content was published on November 12, 2001 - 07:21

Ramseyer, who finished last in the elections, was at the centre of several scandals which shook Geneva's cantonal Bankruptcy Office - for which he is responsible. As a result, the centre-right Radical Party will have no representative in Geneva's government for the first time in 155 years.

"I leave without hatred," Ramseyer said after the elections. "I think the electorate only took into consideration the media's attacks against me during the past five months."

Several scandals

In July, a former employee of the office was arrested for embezzling SFr3.5 million ($2.13 million). Investigators also revealed the existence of 15 false bank accounts, used to conceal a slush fund.

These accounts were apparently used to pay illegally employed temporary workers and for entertainment.

In September, the cantonal government also began investigating the activities of 37 Bankruptcy Office employees on suspicion of corruption.

The scale of the affair highlighted an inadequate system of controls in a department handling large sums of money. It also revealed the lengths to which Ramseyer's department went to prevent investigators uncovering the extent of the problem.

Questions were raised about irregularities at the Bankruptcy Office as early as 1996. Those concerns were reiterated in subsequent reports, but Ramseyer consistently refused to follow them up.

swissinfo with agencies

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