Now President says Rita Marques broke the law

 In Companies, News, Tourism

Portugal’s President of the Republic is latest to join the chorus of politicians and commentators to say Rita Marques, the ex-Secretary of State for Tourism, Commerce and Services and former head of Portugal Ventures broke the law by accepting the post of managing a major tourism attraction in Porto.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa joins Prime Minister, António Costa to criticise decision to accept a plum job at the helm of a tourism and hotel subsidiary belonging to the private family-owned business The Fladgate Partnership.
The Fladgate Partnership opened a wine, olive oil and history of Porto immersive experience theme attraction called World of Wine (WoW) located on a site once occupied by active warehouses on the River Douro at Gaia that stored barrels of port wine produced by the group before being shipped all over the world.
WoW, which was opened during the pandemic, was awarded the Government status of Definitive Tourist Utility which means it is of strategic national and regional importance for Portugal’s tourism industry and for the city of Porto, and in terms of the way it has preserved the city’s port wine historical heritage.
The status was bestowed thanks to Rita Marques in 2022 when she was the Secretary of State for Tourism.
The President of the Republic, when asked by journalists about the case — the latest in a string of cases involving government junior ministers and revolving door cases — said: “What I can say on the whole, and the Portuguese know this, is that when someone is put forward to undertake a political administrative role they make a choice (with implications) that are enshrined in law (for quite a while it wasn’t, but was an ethical and moral question), and that is that he or she should not work in a sector where (previously) they had powers of authority for a period of time (3-years) after having been a government figure in the sector”, he said.
WoW benefitted from public funds of over €30 million, part of which included tax breaks (IMI property taxes) and was a candidate for Compete 2020 – EU funds earmarked for projects of a national interest.
According to ECO online, Rita Marques backtracked on Thursday following the avalanche of criticisms in Parliament. The ex-Secretary of State says she will “no longer head the tourism company without “the conditions to accept” the post at Fladgate.