quarta-feira, 25 de maio de 2011

President ‘immune’ in Election Violations Case

Article in Publico , 21st of May
More than 40 cases stopped awaiting lifting of parliamentary immunity
‘In terms of crimes, there are a number of cases which are dragging on, suspended, awaiting the lifting of parliamentary immunity or authorization to testify’, states the coordinator of the Public Prosecution office, Gonçalves Pereira in his report on the Funchal judiciary relating to the year 2010. Circa 40 are criminal cases.
In the parliamentary session held Wednesday, the same day President Jardim threatened to install criminal proceedings against Louçã, leader of the Bloco Esquerda Party, the PSD majority approved a motion, presented by Jardim himself, to not authorize Jardim to be constituted ‘arguido’ and be questioned by the Public Prosecution in a case of election violations, which had its origins in a complaint lodged by the New Democracy Party (PND). In the same session, the PSD authorized the lifting of Parliamentary Immunity of two Socialist MPs in cases brought against then by the regional Power.
The crime case brought by the PND against President Jardim considers that the latter participates in official inauguration ceremonies simultaneously as President of the Region and Party Leader, specifically when he appeals for votes for his own candidates and slates opposition candidates. The National Commission of Elections, an entity Jardim whose authority Jardim claims not to recognize and which he classifies as a ‘secret police’ of the Salazar dictatorship, has ignored similar complaints lodged by various parties.
One of these crime-cases, lodged by the PND regarding the 2007 elections, gave origin to the process identified as 1049/07.4 TAFUN. Two years after the occurrences, the Public Prosecutor’s office shelved the case, alleging that the court should only act in ‘extreme, unequivocal or flagrante’ cases, in other words, that the law was only violated when the office-holder favors his party or negatively affects another party in a gross way.
Notified that this process had been shelved, the PND leader lodged a hierarchical appeal only to be informed by the Public Prosecution that the alleged crimes had already prescribed at the time the case was shelved.

terça-feira, 3 de maio de 2011

President to Eliminate Departments Accused of ‘Sabotage’

Drawing from the Stalinist lexicon, the President of Madeira stated yesterday: ‘My intention, if I continue in office, is to cut back all those public administration services which block, get in the way, or sabotage all investment’.
He reminded that he had given orders a few years ago to facilitate everything. ‘Happily, the Municipalities all played along, but some Public Administration Departments did not understand what I said and want to be a government within the government. Obviously that is going to end’.
The President announced his intention to ‘extinguish’ the departments that ‘perturbed the development of Madeira’ and ‘disturbed the life of the Municipalities’.
Many investments, by law, require a technical OK from different state departments. A few years ago, in the case of large investments by the President’s personal friends and henchmen, the Municipalities would waive all these requirements aside as formalities and approve any project regardless of legal requirements and of the urban regulations limiting the size and types of buildings allowed.
Some of these cases were taken to court, causing much distress among the President’s men.  Government departments were henceforth pressured to rubber stamp OKs, even when these were against all regulations: such as building mega-projects in environmentally protected areas.

Madeira Public Sector Debt over 4,2 Thousand Million

The financial situation of the companies formed by the Regional Government was discussed, on Sunday, with the negotiators of the EU Commission, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank.
The total debt of the public sector businesses in Madeira reached 4221,2 million Euros at the end of 2009, a value almost three times that of the regional budget.
At the end of 2005, the debt accumulated by 35 directly government-owned companies had reached 1,76 thousand million Euros.
The Court Auditors, in relation to the year 2009, pointed to the technical bankruptcy of four ‘development societies’, whose negative equity reached 101,8 million, a value which increased a further 34,6 million in 2010.
Apart from these companies, created by Alberto João to circumvent the zero indebtment budget rule in order to be able to incur new debts for regional and municipal investments, twelve other companies were indicated as technically bankrupt, including the Regional Health Service, with a negative equity value of 116,3 million Euros, and the Jornal da Madeira newspaper, with over 30 million negative equity.
Government shares in public entities reached a nominal value of 286,6 million Euros in 2009. 85.7% of this value is concentrated in seven institutions: Health Services (145 million), Port Administration (28), Funchal Bus Company (15,6), ANAM Airport Services (13,5) Northern Development Society (10,1) and Porto Santo Development Society (10,5).
These companies’ objectives range from health services, to exploration of road infrastructures, electricity, urban transport, industrial zones, newspaper editing, sport clubs, banana production/ handling and soft drinks distribution.
Source: Público