The PCP’s secretary general, Jerónimo de Sousa, has warned that the fight against corruption is a fight to defend democracy and has criticised those who “cynically take advantage” of recent developments in justice cases.
“When some people cynically take advantage of recent developments in court cases, it must be said that the fight against corruption and economic-financial crime is a fight to be fought in defence of the democratic regime and for the deepening of democracy”, said the communist leader, while alluding to Operation Marquis, which involves former Prime Minister José Sócrates.
“A few days before we commemorate the April revolution, it is good to remember that the struggle for freedom and democracy won on 25 April was also the struggle against the fascist regime in which corruption was the policy of the State at the service of monopoly groups and landowners,” said Jerónimo de Sousa.
The instructional decision in the case involving the former socialist Prime Minister, José Sócrates ‘rekindled’ the discussion around the criminalisation of unjustified enrichment, with some parties coming forward with proposals.
On Monday, the President of the Republic also asked for the appropriate means to be found to criminalise unjustified enrichment, arguing that this step should have already been taken and that “there are several ways” to do it while still respecting the Constitution.
“I talked about this ten years ago, when I was not yet President, I argued that it was necessary to foresee a crime and punish what is an enrichment, namely those who hold public powers that do not have justification in what is the remuneration for the exercise of public functions”, said Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
According to the head of state, “there are several paths and there are several proposals” to do this respecting the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic: “Look for these paths so that you don’t lose a good idea because of the form of implementation”, he appealed.
The candidate of the PSD / CDS-PP coalition to the Lisbon Chamber, Carlos Moedas, has also weighed in on the debate regarding democracy, highlighting an ongoing case in Lisbon.
“It is not just the behaviour of former Prime Minister José Sócrates that undermines the functioning of democracy. The suspicion surrounding political activity in the CML [Lisbon City Council] also corrodes this and, if confirmed, reveals a way of governing the city that I consider absolutely unacceptable”, says Carlos Moedas.
The Social Democrat says he hopes that “the steps taken will contribute to ascertaining the whole truth in relation to cases of urban management that have been raising suspicions about political practice for several years” of the entity chaired by Fernando Medina (PS).
“Until then, while the investigation process is evolving, there is a shadow that hangs over the practice of everyday acts of the greatest relevance and hundreds of municipal employees will be strongly discouraged in the exercise of their functions”, he stresses.
At stake are the searches carried out by the Judiciary Police (PJ) in premises of the City Council of Lisbon, in Campo Grande and Paços do Concelho, after complaints in the context of various urban processes.
“Suspected of the practice of crimes committed in the exercise of public functions, related to the urban planning area of the Lisbon City Council, namely, abuse of power, economic participation in business, corruption, violation of urban rules and traffic in influences, ”the PJ said in a statement.
Named Operation Olissipus, the PJ’s action was carried out within the scope of eight inquiries directed by the Lisbon Regional Department of Investigation and Criminal Action (DIAP).
“28 search warrants, 10 home searches and 18 non-home searches were carried out, aiming to collect documentation related to suspected criminal practices, under investigation,” said the PJ.