Fight against corruption to “defend democracy”

By Daisy Sampson, in News, Politics, Crime · 23-04-2021 01:00:00 · 9 Comments

High profile cases involving former and current political figures have highlighted corruption in Portugal.

The PCP’s secretary general, Jerónimo de Sousa, has warned that the fight against corruption is a fight to defend democracy and has criticised those who “cynically take advantage” of recent developments in justice cases.

“When some people cynically take advantage of recent developments in court cases, it must be said that the fight against corruption and economic-financial crime is a fight to be fought in defence of the democratic regime and for the deepening of democracy”, said the communist leader, while alluding to Operation Marquis, which involves former Prime Minister José Sócrates.

“A few days before we commemorate the April revolution, it is good to remember that the struggle for freedom and democracy won on 25 April was also the struggle against the fascist regime in which corruption was the policy of the State at the service of monopoly groups and landowners,” said Jerónimo de Sousa.

The instructional decision in the case involving the former socialist Prime Minister, José Sócrates ‘rekindled’ the discussion around the criminalisation of unjustified enrichment, with some parties coming forward with proposals.
On Monday, the President of the Republic also asked for the appropriate means to be found to criminalise unjustified enrichment, arguing that this step should have already been taken and that “there are several ways” to do it while still respecting the Constitution.

“I talked about this ten years ago, when I was not yet President, I argued that it was necessary to foresee a crime and punish what is an enrichment, namely those who hold public powers that do not have justification in what is the remuneration for the exercise of public functions”, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

According to the head of state, “there are several paths and there are several proposals” to do this respecting the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic: “Look for these paths so that you don’t lose a good idea because of the form of implementation”, he appealed.

The candidate of the PSD / CDS-PP coalition to the Lisbon Chamber, Carlos Moedas, has also weighed in on the debate regarding democracy, highlighting an ongoing case in Lisbon.

“It is not just the behaviour of former Prime Minister José Sócrates that undermines the functioning of democracy. The suspicion surrounding political activity in the CML [Lisbon City Council] also corrodes this and, if confirmed, reveals a way of governing the city that I consider absolutely unacceptable”, says Carlos Moedas.

The Social Democrat says he hopes that “the steps taken will contribute to ascertaining the whole truth in relation to cases of urban management that have been raising suspicions about political practice for several years” of the entity chaired by Fernando Medina (PS).

“Until then, while the investigation process is evolving, there is a shadow that hangs over the practice of everyday acts of the greatest relevance and hundreds of municipal employees will be strongly discouraged in the exercise of their functions”, he stresses.

At stake are the searches carried out by the Judiciary Police (PJ) in premises of the City Council of Lisbon, in Campo Grande and Paços do Concelho, after complaints in the context of various urban processes.

“Suspected of the practice of crimes committed in the exercise of public functions, related to the urban planning area of ​​the Lisbon City Council, namely, abuse of power, economic participation in business, corruption, violation of urban rules and traffic in influences, ”the PJ said in a statement.

Named Operation Olissipus, the PJ’s action was carried out within the scope of eight inquiries directed by the Lisbon Regional Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP).

“28 search warrants, 10 home searches and 18 non-home searches were carried out, aiming to collect documentation related to suspected criminal practices, under investigation,” said the PJ.

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I agree with James.

By Pete from Alentejo on 26-04-2021 07:53

It's so sad to read about the corruption so I expect this has to do with the checks for covid and the PCR test at 100 plus euros,its an utter RIP off how is the President going to get the holiday makers back here if they have to have test here and test or even 2 more Pcr test when they arrive home,this needs to be sorted or the country will be on its knees with another Summer season lost.The real cost of this test is 40 e at most

By Bobby S from Algarve on 25-04-2021 07:39

And what about the endemic corruption surrounding the timber products industries? The endless bribes and lobbying to get the rules and laws that favour their continued ruination of Portugal through vast monoculture plantations of eucalypts - quite a lot of which are illegally planted, and the deforestation of areas of diverse trees. More investigation of this needs to take place. Here in Central Portugal, poor people are being deceived into thinking planting eucalypts on former farm land is a "good little earner". Then the fires sweep through, their trees are charred and agents from the big companies come to say,"So sorry, but your trees aren't worth much now. But we'll take them off your hands for 25% of the value we first told you. They're no good to you." Then the companies strip off the top layer of charring and - hey presto! The wood is perfectly good, and they get it at a bargain price. Meanwhile, all wildlife and other trees are driven out of the vast monoculture 'deserts', the soil is destroyed through successive crops that take all the nutrients and leave nothing but rock and sand. Then come the rains and the land washes away to the sea. Look around. It's happening all over Portugal. And who's saying anything about it? Certainly not the politicians, including local Councils.

By Judith Carol Irwin from Beiras on 25-04-2021 12:18

The fight against corruption is a total sham. It is only a front for the World to think something is being done about it. As the Portugal people say "para Ingles ver".
The person who has been appointed to oversee this fight again corruption has no qualifications whatsoever. His CV is a total lie. Nothing will happen. Life goes on!

By Lauree M Lennon from Lisbon on 24-04-2021 09:52

Agree totally with James.
AND why is there no aparent investigative journalism here? Are the journos and press/TV etc all "bought"? Also why is it that MEO seems to have so much of a hold on the comms TV etc here?
Why is someone like Andre Ventura not published. He has a lot of very good ideas and arguments for his country. Is there some kind of gag on what he says? Just one of his questions is why are there so many politicians for a population as small as Portugal? Good question. But he asks a lot of intelligent others and hardly gets air time.

By Lauree Lennon from Lisbon on 24-04-2021 09:35

This issue has only surfaced because the Frugal Northern EU - net contributors in particular - need proof that their tax payer money underwriting joint euro debt for the Pandemic recovery is finally being well spent.
But it also depends on effective investigation - who in Portugal has got that experience?
Ex-PM Socrates, to amass his alleged 30+ million euros, was apparently 'illicitly gaining' from that surplus traditionally built into Brussels funded projects usually diverted into consultancies and support services. Intangibles - not tangibles.
The Frugal net contributor Northern EU will need clear tangible results from the southern EU to show their voters. Or they get voted out!

By Eric from Algarve on 23-04-2021 02:50

If there was a functioning judicial and court system, maybe those involved in corruption would hesitate to get involved. With appalling delays often approaching a decade (justice denied) it’s no wonder people enrich themselves at our expense as the chances of a swift, fair trial and harsh penalty are non-existent.

By Paul Rees from Lisbon on 23-04-2021 01:11

Corruption???? Of course it exists. It exists everywhere goobermint and money mingle. I own property in Portugal but have not been there since the beginning of the covid scam. Every country has corrupt people. The right thing to do is punish them so harshly for their crime that it scares the hell out of anyone else. Public Hanging should be the punishment as well as confiscation of all financial gain from the date of known corruption.

By rod from USA on 23-04-2021 12:24

Old habits die hard.It makes for depressing reading and should serve as a red flag for anyone thinking of investing here.
The local councils also have far too much power and are run like personal fiefdoms.

There needs to be clear rules that apply to everyone otherwise this is just another banana republic in the sun.

By James from Algarve on 23-04-2021 08:39
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