sexta-feira, 18 de outubro de 2013

Paulo Morais on Corruption and Justice in Portugal

Of the cases you have denounced, have you ever managed to see one to its conclusion?
There are many. The Public Prosecutor has considered them and it is with some perplexity that I see how some have been thrown out, such as the Porto Underground case. At one point, the Porto Underground decided to acquire some land in Campo dos Salgueiros. It was valued at 5 million Euro. But the Metro decided to pay almost 9 million for a piece of land they knew was worth less than 5 million. I denounced this and presented official documents, valuations, the  meeting minutes of the board of directors, and the Public Prosecutor decided to shelve the process because they did not know where the extra four million went. The Portuguese people were robbed of 4 million in that one deal alone.

Is there no corruption in Porto? At least we know no news of any.
There is no corruption anywhere. For there to be a crime of corruption you need to know what is the aim of the corruption, what is the material gain, who is corrupted, who is corrupting, what links all these facts together and what all the connections are. An accusation of corruption only occurs when the corruptor and the corrupted walk into court hand in hand, and even then it’s hardly likely. In cases such as embezzlement or malfeasance, there can be developments, the accusation is relatively simple. But investigations are rare, and when they are made, there are rarely reach the stage of accusation, and  where [Public Prosecutor] does accuse the cases rarely go on trial, and when they do they rarely result in condemnations and when there are condemnations, those concerned do not go to prison.

Why does that happen?
Because the laws are complex, because the justice system is disorganized and functions in a medieval way. If we go into a Court, 70% of the people there are waiting. They should be called palaces for waiting rather than palaces of justice.

Paulo Morais is vice president of the NGO Transparency and Integrity

Excerpt from interview to I newspaper in June 2103

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