Portugal’s finance minister denies traffic of influence and abuse of power

 In Corruption, Municipal councils, News

Portugal’s Finance Minister Fernando Medina has flatly denied that he has been made a legal suspect by Portugal’s Public Ministry or is being investigated on suspicions, voiced by CNN, of a possible abuse of power and traffic of influence.

CNN/TVI stated that he should be made a legal suspect over investigations at Lisbon city hall into corruption harking back to his time as the Mayor of Lisbon, a post he held between 2015-21.
On Monday the news channel TVI reported that Medina should be made a legal suspect after project management consultant and former Mayor of Castelo Branco Joaquim Mourão had denounced the minister during questioning by Portugal’s judicial ’PJ’ police.
Mourão had told the police that a company of which he is a partner was awarded a contract directly without the contract going out to competitive tender as it should have done under municipal council regulations.
But Fernando Medina said: “I have no knowledge of any allegations and if they exist, (the foundations) are totally false” he said in a statement issued from the Ministry of Finance.
Joaquim Mourão was awarded a contract to provide consulting services and project management support on Lisbon municipal projects.
The first contract, for six months, was worth €22,550 (+VAT). The second contract of 17 months paid €73,7888 (+VAT).
Joaquim Mourão, who has served as a Mayor of Castelo Branco, has denied any allegations of cronyism and said he had not committed any “illicit act”
But he did say: “I can confirm the public statements made by Fernando Medina that a direct contact was awarded between Lisbon Municipal Council and the company in which I am a partner, because it is the truth”, he said in a statement sent to the Lusa news agency.
In January, police investigators swooped on the offices of Lisbon City Council with search warrants.
Prime Minister Antonio Costa, when asked about the searches, said there had been three people and companies that were under legal investigation.
“I know that the Minister of Finances is not a legal suspect, and hasn’t even been questioned in the case, and if he were, he would have been. No one is above the law”.
Joaquim Mourão said he was wholly available to cooperate (with the police) in order to clear up all the facts.

Image: Lusa António Cotrim.