TAP inquiry to hear

Comment: TAP inquiry to hear “Twitter cowboy” minister and sacked aide

Dates set for next ‘installments’ of inquiry that has become compulsive viewing

Dates have been announced today for the next (arguably thrilling) installments of the TAP parliamentary inquiry that has been dogged by intrigue, controversy and everything in-between.

Wednesday May 17 will be the moment for the ‘sacked aide’ who reportedly punched his way in and out of the infrastructures ministry last month, with recourse to a bicycle, in order to recover a computer that the nation later heard contained State secrets.

Frederico Pinheiro has been painted by some (the government in particularly) as the ‘villain’ of this piece, with infrastructures minister João Galamba, the knight in shining armour.

Except that Pinheiro’s story appears very different. In his story João Galamba is more the politician who would sell his grandmother (or in this case, his deputy) to save his skin.

Thus it is probably a very good idea to hear Frederico Pinheiro first, and then Mr Galamba, who has been described by pundits as “a political cadaver that still moves” or just as unflatteringly “a zombie minister”. Before this particular episode, Mr Galamba was frequently referred to as a “Twitter cowboy”, due to his propensity for quick-fire ripostes over social media.

To be fair, Mr Galamba appears to be moving under his momentum, having taunted journalists this week with “Can’t you see I have immense conditions to be a minister. I am still walking”. (This could be seen as detracting somewhat from the rest of the executive).

But we will have to wait, agog. The TAP inquiry this far has seen and heard the former CEO of the company drop a number of high-ranking politicians in the proverbial soup; it has seen its president walk out in a huff; it has even seen opposition MPs suggest the government is keen to refuse any and all questions that could lead to other areas, and other ‘disgraces’, beyond the unauthorised golden handshake that started all this off at the end of last year.

Whatever happens next Wednesday and Thursday, it will be front page news as the real issue in this inquiry is that the management of TAP, the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the bicycle flying through a ministry window, government aides hiding in lavatories, and lavish handouts have all followed the prime minister’s decision to wrestle TAP back from private hands at an expense to the country’s taxpayers (which he admits will never be recovered) of €3.2 billion.

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