Civil servant on-the-run with a million euros told: “You’re fired!”

It is a case of shutting the door after a bolting horse. The notaries’ institute (IRN) took space in Diário da República – Parliament’s official newspaper – last week to advise a former state worker that she was “obliged” to pay back the 1.084.713 euros that she had misappropriated.
The same advice notice informed the assistant at the Registo Comercial of Cascais that she was sacked.
When asked why it had resorted to such an unusual way of revealing an in-house fraud, IRN told reporters that the “whereabouts of the defendant was for the time being unknown”. For this reason, the administration “had no choice” but to publish the announcement in the state-run newspaper.
As the former conservatory employee appears “long-gone” with her million, Correio da Manhã reveals this is just one of eight current cases under investigation by IRN.
In all, the State appears to have been defrauded out of 3.3 million euros by as many as five former employees – four of which are now facing charges of “diverting public funds”.
According to CM, justifications for the crimes vary. There are those who blame financial difficulties, and even the case of one female employee who said she siphoned off funds ‘for love’.
The money was not taken all at once, writes CM. They took place over the course of months – in some cases years.
Nonetheless, this year seems to have been a “bad one” when it comes to defrauding the state. In 2011, CM says IRN detected the “diverting” of only 667.000 euros, and in 2012, the total was 2.6 million.
2013’s 3.3 million would thus seem to be something of a record.
Meantime, CM reports that IRN’s accounting procedures have been stepped up, with “increased internal control”.