Câmara’s loan controversy.jpg

Câmara’s loan controversy


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A 400 million euro loan negotiated by Lisbon Câmara to pay off suppliers has been sent to the Tribunal de Contas state audit department for approval. The government’s Exchequer Audit Department then has 30 days to approve the loan or reject it.

The Câmara’s Finance Executive also has to send a copy of the contract loan agreement with Caixa Geral de Depósitos to the Ministry of Finances within 15 days of the loan’s approval.

The loan was finally agreed despite much PSD party opposition at a Municipal Assembly on Tuesday last week in an agreement between Câmara President António Costa (PS) and PSD opposition leader on the Câmara Fernando Negrão.

The PS, with left wing Bloco de Esquerda members, managed to persuade the PSD councillors that without the loan agreement the Câmara simply would have ceased to function. This, in turn, would have lead to a fall in the administration, fresh and costly elections and a possible PSD victory facing exactly the same dilemma of how to pay off the debt.


Controversial TV analyst and political commentator, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, said in an interview with weekend newspaper Expresso on Saturday that the loan was “illegal”.

The loan could be illegal because it was only approved by 48 votes in favour against 58 abstentions and, according to Local Government Finance Law 38º “should be approved by an absolute majority by members of the Municipal Assembly”.

Constitutional legal expert Pedro Goncalves said the decision was a “serious illegality” that the Tribunal de Contas “would not accept” because there were not enough ‘for’ votes to give the ruling party on the Assembly an absolute majority.

However another constitutional legal beagle, Paula Teixeira da Cruz, disagreed by saying: “Although there was not an absolute majority, there were enough ‘for’ votes to make it stick. If it were not the case, then 90 per cent of all local government loans would have been thrown out,” she argued.

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