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.