‘Deficiencies’ found in arms theft case

in News · 10-05-2019 09:00:00 · 0 Comments
‘Deficiencies’ found in arms theft case

An official inspection has confirmed “deficiencies and failures” on the part of members of Portugal’s military police, the PJM, in their “duty of cooperation” in investigating the theft of materiel from an army depot.

The defence minister, João Gomes Cravinho, who is to testify before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into the disappearance – and subsequent reappearance – of significant quantities of weapons, ammunition and explosives from the Tancos depot in 2017, told Lusa News Agency that he had ordered ministry inspectors “to check if there was any failure in the institutional relationship … between the military judicial police and the [civilian] judicial police “in particular in the Tancos case”.

Following that inspection, which focused on the day on which the recovery of the stolen material was announced on 18 October of 2017, the PJM has been asked to beef up its internal control mechanisms and structures, he said.

According to the minister, inspectors’ report describes, in particular, failings in the “duty of sincere cooperation between the institutions and respect for what had been stipulated by the former attorney-general”, Joana Marques Vidal, regarding who was overseeing the case.

“These guidelines were not followed,” Cravinho said. “We must understand who has responsibility for this and take all consequences, whether it is a criminal matter that is not up to the Ministry of Defense or a disciplinary matter, which is up to the branches” of the miliary.

The report has, he added, already been sent to the armed forces chiefs.

In the interview, the minister rejected the suggestion that failings in only “one case” might bring into question the existence of the PJM itself, as the former attorney-general argued.

Every year, he stressed, the force “deals with hundreds of cases” that are handled with “institutional relations that raise no comment.”


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