Madeiran regional governor and Funchal mayor resign over police probe
The governor of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and the mayor of Funchal have resigned after being made legal suspects in a corruption case in which both are being investigated by the Portuguese Public Ministry.
Miguel Albuquerque and Pedro Calado respectively are under investigation over allegations of a possible crime against the State of Law after, according to CNN, they allegedly tried to get a journalist silenced over an investigative article published in the newspaper Jornal da Madeira in July 2023.
It is suspected that Albuquerque had asked the Mayor of Funchal, Pedro Calado, to put pressure on the CEO of the AFA Group (AFA holds a 50% stake in the newspaper) Avelino Farinha, in order to remove the journalist from the story.
According to the news source Lusa, the Mayor of Funchal, Pedro Calado (centre-right PSD party) and two managers linked to the AFA construction group, were detained as part of the searches that the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) carried out on Wednesday last week across the country, according to a source linked to the investigation.
The Judiciary Police (PJ – Portugal’s main criminal investigation agency) carried out around 130 home and non-home searches last week in connection with three investigations led by the Central Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DCIAP), which are investigating crimes of active and passive corruption, economic participation in business, malfeasance, receiving or offering undue advantage, abuse of power and influence peddling.
As part of this police operation, three people suspected of committing these crimes were detained out of flagrante delicto, the PJ said in a statement, without revealing their identities or where the arrests were made. The detainees will be brought before the relevant judicial authority, at the Central Criminal Investigation Court in Lisbon, to be heard in a first judicial questioning and subsequent application of coercive measures.
According to CNN, the Public Ministry also believes that Miguel Albuquerque may have had a “corruptive pact” with companies in the region, and took advantage of “luxury holidays with premium experiences and limitless credit” in the five-star Hotel Savoy in Funchal at the expense of Avelino Farinha (AFA) who owns the Savoy and is responsible for the majority of public works in Madeira.
It is alleged that Albuquerque stayed in the luxury hotel for free with his wife and two sons. An adjutant of the regional governor had asked Avelino Farinha to provide two rooms in the hotel where a week’s stay costs around €6,100 per person.
IMAGE: HOMEM DE GOUVEIA/LUSA
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