A Spanish civil servant who did no work for six years has been fined almost €27,000 (£21,000) after his long absence was finally noticed.
Officials in Cádiz were preparing to hand Joaquín García an award for long service when inquiries revealed the true extent of his contribution to the local authority.
In 1990, he was given a €37,000-a-year post at the Aguas de Cádiz public utilities provider, Spain’s El Mundo newspaper reported.
Jorge Blas Fernandez, who served as the city’s deputy mayor from 1995 to 2015, said he was given an office in the municipal building and no more was heard for more than a decade.
“We thought the water company was supervising him but that was not the case,” he added.
“We found out when we were about to present him with a commemorative plaque for 20 years of service.”
Inquiries with the manager of Aguas de Cádiz, who had an office opposite, revealed he had not seen Mr García for several years and when Mr Blas phoned his absent employee, he allegedly “could not answer” questions on what he had been doing.
A legal case was launched in 2010 alleging he had not done a day’s work since 2004, despite continuing to collect his €37,000 (£29,000) annual salary.
After a protracted lawsuit, Mr García, lost his appeal at a Cádiz court on Thursday and will have to pay his fine, which is the largest possible, The Times reported.
Mr García denied the allegations, claiming that he turned up each day but found there was no work to do.
Asked why he did not report the situation, he said he had a family to support and feared it would be difficult to find another job, so read extensively and became an “expert on the philosopher Spinoza”.
The 69-year-old was not fired from the post because he had already retired.