sexta-feira, 24 de maio de 2013

Salazar Law may get Jardim and pals off the hook

At the centre of the dispute between the judge and the public prosecutor attached to the Court Auditor’s Office is a 1933 law. The Public Prosecutor is basing his decision not to prosecute Jardim and company based on the decree 22.257 of 1933, which states that ministers may only be held responsible for financial infractions if they ignore or override the technical advice of the hierarchical subalterns.

This is near impossible in Madeira where the civil service is peopled by Yes men and Jardim regularly threatens all those who ‘obstruct’ him with retaliations.

The big question is, will this argument also be used in the – never heard of again - ‘Cuba Livre’ criminal investigation, regarding the deliberate hiding of the Madeira debt?  

Jardim’s discourse seems to suggest this. He initially proudly claimed he had deliberately hidden the debt because Portugal was cutting funding to Madeira. He later changed his tune, saying he was not an accountant and that the whole fiasco was due to an incompatibility between the computer programs of two Government Departments. Will Jardim’s initial admission of guilt figure in the Public Prosecutor’s accusation? I doubt it. 

quinta-feira, 23 de maio de 2013

PSD infighting latest

Jaime Ramos, the PSD Parliamentary group leader is moving to have his party colleague Miguel de Sousa suspended from Parliament due to missing too many sessions. Sousa is known for just clocking in and out, but due to the Party's slim majority more discipline is now required. Sousa then urged Jaime to set the agenda for Parliamentary sessions well in advance so he could plan his time, whereupon Jaime showered him with insults calling him, among other things, a 'pimp'. Jaime's attempted expulsion of Sousa follows on the news that Sousa's law suit against him is set to start soon. The duo belong two biggest rival 'business families' within the PSD.

Meanwhile Jardim is also threatening to expel any dissidents who present independent lists for the forthcoming municipal elections. Young PSD militants are preparing independent candidatures for the Monte and Imaculado Coração.  

Former Socialist leader again criminally prosecuted by Jardim

The former Madeira Socialist Party leader, João Carlos Gouveia is to stand trial for allegedly defaming Jardim next Thursday. I will be a witness for the defense.

The trial is another political farce, starting with the fact that the crime is supposed to be harsher due to Jardim being President of the Regional Government. That is the first big joke, for Jardim has no legitimacy due to the fact that his victories were won violating the election laws and resorting to Nazi-style hate speeches which in a decent country would have had him behind bars, if not in a loony bin. Yet despite all the proof in the hands of the Public Prosecutor's Office they seem somehow unable to draft an accusation to take the bggr to trial.

To Jardim, these policial trials are all a great joke. He shunts public money into the pockets of one of his lawyer friends, in this case his pal the PSD regional MP, Tranquada Gomes, and if things go well he gets to pocket a few thousand. Its one of Jardim's favourite hobbies, especially since it does not cost him anything...

But the funny thing it seems some one of the Public Prosecutors seems to also want to get in on the action. Maria Gameiro, the Deputy Public Prosecutor who notoriously shelved the fraud case against the Jornal - apparently she's ignorant of the law and blind to it - is also taking Gouveia to Court for slander. I really look forward to testifying in that case, I am only sad that it has been postponed.

sexta-feira, 17 de maio de 2013

Judge Sends 'Connective Intelligence' Audit to Anti-Corruption Unit

The Court Auditor's judge, João Aveiro Pereira, has sent the audit on the financing of the 'International Center for Connective Intelligence' to the Public Prosecutor's Central Investigation Unit and to the Council for the Prevention of Corruption.

The audit detected payments worth 386.000 Euros made without bills and a payment of 1.3 Million for services that were never rendered. These facts were passed on to the Public Prosecutor attatched to the Court Auditor's Office who, despite confiming the evidence of abuse, determined not to send to those responsible to trial.

The judge states it is his right and his duty to express his firm disagreement to the flippant and strange way the Public Prosecutor abstains from demanding a trial regarding the financial responsiblities at stake. According to the Diário, the judge stated that the Public Prosecutor appears 'very worried about protecting' the governors of Madeira.

Among the three people to be held to account is Madeira's Secretary of Finances, Ventura Garces.

sexta-feira, 3 de maio de 2013

Court forbids Municipal decisions to be published in the Jornal

The Funchal Administrative Court has ruled that Funchal City's decisions are not to be published in the Jornal da Madeira.

The law says that such decisions are to be published in paid papers, not in free ones. Since 2008, the Jornal has resorted to a scam, by printing a 10 cent cover price to skirt the law, while the paper is handed out for free.

This situation had already been brought to the Public Prosecutor's Office by the Court Auditors in 2009, but following a two year non-investigation, the Deputy Prosecutor, Maria Gameiro, shelved the case, without a single mention of the law that forbids the Municipality from publuishing its decisions in freebies.

It took us one morning in court to prove what the Public Prosecutor was unable to discover in two years of investigation!

The management of the Jornal is committing a blatant fraud against the law and it is unacceptable that criminal proceeding are not brought against them.

Public Prosecutor's Office turns a blind eye to Government benefitting Jardim's Party

The Turism Secretariat lent a stage for the anual PSD Party Rally at the Chão da Lagoa. Such stages are very expensive to hire on the market, but in this case it was simply lent for free.

According to the investigation, the stage was lent by the Secretariat, at the request of the owner of 'Criterio de Escolha Lda', the company responsible for setting the rally stage. The Secretariat claimed it was lent on word of mouth and that they had no idea what it would be used for. Hardly likely since it was the only major event happening that day and since the date itself was postponed due to dangers of forest fire. But for the Public Prosecutor's Office, the Secretariat's word is enough to get it off the hook.

Once again, the Public Prosecutor's Office is connivant in allowing public resources to be used to benefit the majority party.

Public Prosecutor's Office demands disciplinary action against judge

The Public Prosecutor's Office, unused to public scrutiny, has called for a discplinary measure to be taken against the judge who criticised the Prosecutor who attatched to the Cout Auditor's Office (see previous post). The judge's deliberation, it claimed, contained subjective opinions that exceeded the judge's competence.

As it so happens, the judge had already objected to the non-action of the Public Prosecutor with regards to several other audits which should have lead to trials, but were shelved by the Prosecutor, however, the Public Prosecutor's Office always ignored the judge and took no action.

The Public Prosecutor's Office is not used to open criticism. It is a totally opaque organization, a law unto itself. Many of its magistrates are notoriously close to the regional power and investigations are often no more than a formality to be completed before a case is shelved or allowed to prescribe. Complaints against Public Prosecutors are rarely acted upon by the hierarchy and some magistrates wield a virtually arbitrary power - reason for which Jardim and his men enjoy almost absolute impunity and can do what they will regardless of what the law says

quinta-feira, 2 de maio de 2013

Prosecutor resigns following judge's fierce criticism

José Albero Varela Martins, the prosecutor attached to the Court Auditor's Office in Madeira has resigned following fiecre criticism by judge João Aveiro Pereira. The judge, who also works for the Court Auditor's Office, described the Prosecutor's decision not to prosecute the Regional Government of Madeira  as 'shocking' and 'disgusting'.  There are clear signs of violation of financial misdemeanours which clearly ought to be taken to trial, stated the judge. He called for civilians to take up criminal proceedings against the Regional Government on the basis of the Court Auditor's findings.

The Public Prosecutor's Office announced an investigation, whereupon the Public Prosecutor tendered his resignation.