domingo, 23 de março de 2014

Jornal publishes PSD results before they occurred!

The Jornal yesterday published the results of the PSD Regional Council meeting before they were actually voted. Albuquerque's motion to anticipate the party leadership elections was reported to have been voted down before the actual voting took place. The PSD militants greeted this act with shock and surprise, but to those in opposition it's no surprise. Jardim has always been obnoxious about flouting all rules and laws.

Even more amazing is that the Jornal refused to publish two pages of paid publicity: Jardim's latest rival, Miguel de Sousa's political program. This is a government-owned newspaper, which receives four million Euro per year to cover its losses, mismanagement and so on… and which refuses paid publicity. Let it be said that the PSD's  (i.e. Jardim's) programs are always published for free in this newspaper and sometimes they run to a dozen pages spread over several issues. The opposition's programs are naturally boycotted and obviously they do not want to support the dictator paper with publicity. For the Jornal to refuse publicity from a PSD candidate really shows  the depths to which the regime has sunk.

Of course, the person who is really morally responsible for this state of affairs- THE ONLY ONE - is the bishop of Funchal, D. António Carrilho, for the newspaper's editorial statutes confer him the power to designate the executive editor and to orient the paper's editorial line. The bishop both refuses to take on his duties and refuses to resign from them: He acknowledges that he gives Jardim full power to do as he pleases with the paper, but insists on remaining his alibi: that the editorial power lies not in the hand of the Government but of the CHURCH.

Madeira is a real case study into how democracy can be totally subverted.

Quinta do Lorde Saga

The storm over middle eastern investors pulling out of the mega-investment, Quinta do Lorde, is abating.

The Quinta do Lorde resort is a huge resort built in a Natura 2000 nature reserve, according to legislation adopted by EU governments in 1992 to protect the most seriously threatened habitats.

The land was originally site of a house built by Lord Shrewsbury, but which he never got to inhabit. After years of disinterest, and with very limited development possibilities it was bought by Ricardo Sousa, for next to nothing. But, as usual, once it belonged to the 'right' people all restrictions melted; the sky was the limit.

However, as usual, the plans were contested by environmental NGOs and activists. In 2008, Gil Canha, (now recently elected city councilor to Funchal), presented a denunciation to the Public Prosecutor's Office. A year later, when nothing had happened he put in an injunction against the development. The judge, despite admitting there were indications of illegality, determined not to defer the injunction because of the economic consequences the promoters of the project would suffer. The main case was duly filed but only recently registered.

In the meantime, the project had run into financial difficulties and ground to a halt several times. The banks sought for new investors and eventually found a consortium of middle eastern investors who duly began to pour in much needed money. However, they were apparently never informed of the pending court case and of its consequences - in Spain the  Marina Isla de Valdecañas resort, also built in a Rede Natura 2000 reserve was ordered demolished by the Supreme Court. 

Contacted by the consortium, Gil Canha showed willingness to drop the case (Portuguese Justice is no match for Spanish justice and the effects of demolishing the project could not undo the damage) in return for the fulfillment of some environmental demands, such as public access tot the beachfront  - but nothing doing until the Sousas stopped persecuting him and others (including myself) through court cases. 

The Sousas then orchestrated several workers demonstrations in front of Funchal City Hall calling for Canha to step down for causing the loss of their jobs. Their actions failed to carry public opinion. 

The Sousa Group are incidentally shareholders of the company contracted by the previous executive of Funchal City to draw up its new city plan and regulations!

'Face Oculta' corruption Trial may be subject to retrial

The defense in the Face Oculta Trial is appealing for a retrial, leading to the annulment of 180 hearings.   As always in Portugal, what is at stake is never the content of the accusations but the formalities of Portuguese justice. In this case the trial may fall because the defense argued that thirty days have elapsed since the last production of evidence. In fact, in the last hearing, a series of photographs were added to the evidence, but the defense argue this is not production of evidence and therefore the whole trial should go to pot.  Once again, the only thing that seems to function in Portuguese justice is the 'prazos': deadlines.

The defense will argue that the accusations be dropped due to the ex-president of the Supreme Court destroying the tapes of the phone taps made on conversations between the ex-prime minister Socrates and Armando Vara, claiming that hypothetical evidence in the tapes could absolve the accused. No little irony.  

Source: Expresso

sexta-feira, 21 de março de 2014

Case against former head of Millenium Bank prescribes

The court case against Jardim Gonçalves, former head of the Millenium Bank has prescribed, amidst mutual accusations between the Bank of Portugal and the Justice system.

The Bank of Portugal blames the judge for allowing the process to prescribe. The case was subject to 35 hearings, at the end of which, after hearing the testimony of the whistleblower, the judge decided that the denunciations were nul. The Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court determined otherwise, but the delay caused, of over two and half years, led to the case prescribing.

The Superior Magistrates Council riposted that the Bank of Portugal had taken five years to formulate their accusation, a factor which contributed greatly to the crimes prescribing. Portuguese justice at its best!

Moral of the story: the only thing that works in Portuguese Justice are the famous 'prazos': time limits.

Jardim fed up with his party after 36 years in power

Jardim completed 36 years in power at the head of the regional government this week and is three months away from breaking Salazar's record for longevity in power.

He now says he is not fed up with Madeira but with his own party and is considering forming his own party.

The statement coincides with the declared intnetions of his pal Garbiel Drumond, head of FAMA, the Forum for Autonomy, of which Jardim is also a member. FAMA is the successor of the the terrorist seperatist movement FLAMA, which resorted to the use of car bombs to intimidate and persecute people connoted with left wing parties after the revolution. Drumond stated that he intended turning the Forum into a political party.

sexta-feira, 7 de março de 2014

Ports Case 7 - Journeys billed to the ETP

The Police report, under the above heading says:

In effect, the ETP requested the services of the said travel agency, for journeys, car rentals and hotel stays, which despite being entirely paid by the ETP, were either partially used or used for private ends. The remaining values were credited to David Pedra or to the company belonging to the President of the Free Trade Union of Loaders and Unloaders, José Manuel de Freitas (Freitas e Célia)...

When questioned, Ricardo Jorge Ferreira de Jesus an ex employee of the Pateo Agency, said that effectively, following instructions of David Pedra and of the employee Noelia, they emitted bills to the ETP for services never rendered (journeys, hotel stays and car rentals), the cost of which were later credited to a current account opened in the name of David Pedra, for private use....

The current account of Freitas e Célia, the company beloning to José Manuel Freitas, and his wife, were credited with values of bills paid by the ETP.

It was also found that the companies Freitas e Célia, Pedra e Costa, Gest Lider, Soft Leader and the Stevedores Trade Union requested the emission of bills for services never rendered, and which were later used by the shareholders of the mentioned firms for private ends...

By way of example, the Management of the Meridian Park Porto Hotel was asked to inform the police whether on the dates from 18 to the 23rd of August 2002, José Manuel Freitas and , José Manuel Abreu dos Santos, president s of the two trade unions, had stayed at the hotel, according to bill nº 411 of the Pateo Agency. According to the Hotel, these persons were not registered as guests on those days.

Therefore, no doubts remain that this was one of the bills paid by the ETP for journeys not made, and whose cost reverted to other ends.

José Manuel Freitas denied everything.

This section of the report concludes that given the complexity of the investigation and due to some of the facts pertaining to a period which exceeds the timeframe of the investigation, the police suggest that all the relevant facts should be extracted for a separate evaluation. Given that the companies Gest Lider, Pedra e Costa and Freitas e Célia used the same strategy, the facts of the investigation should be sent the Regional Tax Office.

quarta-feira, 5 de março de 2014

Port's Case 6. Twenty Five Trade Unions signed petition against the Stevedore's Union

Following the denunciations of the temporary workers, 25 Trade Unions signed a petition on the situation of the temporary workers:

The Stevedores Trade Unions "do not defend the temporary workers of the Funchal Port", it read. They condemned the fact that the temporary workers work for over two hundred days a year in the ports (some for over seven years) but have no permanent status. They also repudiate the fact that the worker's canteen was transformed into a restaurant exploited by a company belonging to one of the trade union leaders.

Among the 25 trade unions signatory to the petition, made public in July 2001 were:
The Union of Journalists; Teachers; Hotel Workers; Construction Workers; Office and Commerce Workers; Embroideries Industry Workers; Bankers; Post Office and Telecomunications; Justice employees; Food and Beveridge Workers; Metalworkers; Local Administration Workers; Pharmaceutical workers and others

Miguel de Sousa candidate for PSD Madeira Leadership

Miguel de Sousa launched his candidature for the PSD Madeira leadership last week, criticising the unbearable debt which Jardim has left. Sousa, like the other two challengers is in favour of early elections, saying that it makes no sense to leave the party's internal elections till December.

Jardim has reacted saying that he is not addicted to power, but will not accept early elections, adding that if President Cavaco does not accept the handover of Government to his successor in December, he will opt to stay until the end of his mandate in 2015