By: CECÍLIA PIRES
SILVES CÂMARA is being investigated for alleged irregularities relating to possible over invoicing on several construction projects between 2004 and 2006.
A source from the Silves Câmara has confirmed to The Resident that the case is already under the Polícia Judiciária investigation.
The story was first reported in the daily newspaper Correio da Manhã, which said an external audit had been ordered by Isabel Soares, the Câmara president, after a request in 2006 from Faro Finanças about several construction works made by a company named Viga D’Ouro.
As a result of this request, Silves Câmara suspended the payments to the construction company and opened an internal investigation. A final report was sent to the PJ and the Public Prosecutor in January last year and the case is now in the hands of the Divisão Central de Investigação Económica e Financeira, the PJ’s national department for economic and financial crimes, and is constrained by secrecy of justice laws.
A spokesman for the Polícia Judiciária told The Resident that it could not comment on the case.
The Correio da Manhã report was said to be based on the final report of the external audit for the period between December 2004 and June 2006, when the auditor “detected about 1,200 receipts from that construction company, some of them on the same day and with consecutive numbers and always with a similar value, slightly above the legal limit of 4,987.98 euros for direct contracts, to avoid a public bid”.
The audit, in September 2006, says that “a total of 4.9 million euros was paid by Silves Câmara to Viga D’Ouro Construções, which represents a range of 408,300 euros a month and about 11 construction works a month during the period analysed”.
Maria Antónia Nascimento, the author of the report, is quoted by Correio da Manhã saying that “none of the works was found on the list of works advertised by Silves Câmara in the Diário da República”.
The company involved in the investigation is denying all the accusations and has claimed it is owed seven million euros for construction works where payment was suspended by the Câmara in August 2006 after the case was triggered by the Finanças request.
The investigation has opened a disciplinary proceeding into the actions of the head of the Divisão de Serviços Urbanos, the Câmara department that manages all the construction works, and the person was dismissed from his responsibilities and transferred to another public service.
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