Sanctus – Former Sanctarian Conservative Party leader Kate Cruz was formally arrested by the Sanctarian Federal Police this morning as part of the force’s investigation into the party’s finances and financial mismanagement. The arrest was agreed with Cruz in advance, and the MP for Sanctus 14th Canton also made a short statement following the interaction with police officers at a station near her home.
Though arrested, Cruz has not yet been formally charged with any crime, with the arrest a formality to allow the SFP continue to question Cruz for longer periods of time. Speaking outside the station, Cruz continued to protest her innocence, but acknowledged the police force was just “doing their job, as they are required to do”. She did not take questions from any reporters and was driven home by her husband after spending approximately six hours in the federal police building.
New SCP leader Julie Chrisintim has said the “SFP must be allowed to continue their work unimpeded and without comment from political leaders” but did say she expected Cruz, as a sitting SCP MP, to “work with the police to the fullest extent”. Chrisintim did not directly answer, when asked, if she would be requesting Cruz resign saying “obviously in this country we are judged to be innocent until proven guilty, and that’s a right afforded to everyone, but equally I think as MPs we need to be role models and ensure we’re engaging with these processes in good faith”.
The SFP confirmed that further arrests may yet be necessary in their investigation, but said that they are “close to having all the information required” to move forward. It is now known that over S£5m of party money was misreported, or miscategorised, in the required financial disclosures over the past three years, with almost S£2m still unreported for. The financial scandal has impacted public confidence in the SCP, with the party dropping almost six points in latest polling. Some party members have said that Chrisintim should “clean house” and do a “root and branch review” to ensure party survival, with one MP saying that the new leader should “remove the whip” from Cruz and former deputy leader Noreen Islington, who has also been questioned in this investigation.
The Government, however, is unwilling to be drawn in on the matter, with the government’s press secretary saying it is “a matter for the SCP and the SFP, and we won’t be commenting on it”. Justice Secretary Xander Morgan today at a community event said “the SFP needs to be able to operate without government interference, we won’t be commenting on this matter publicly, or communicating with SFP leadership at all in reference to this investigation, as that would be inappropriate and improper”.
LOUISA SOUTER, Crime & Justice Correspondent, and AHMED PATEL, Political Correspondent