No longer a member of government, Capitão Ferreira has decided not to answer the questions of MPs, citing his duty now to 'answer to Justice'
No longer a member of government, Capitão Ferreira has decided not to answer the questions of MPs, citing his duty now to 'answer to Justice'

Criticism as former secretary of State pulls out of parliamentary hearing

Bloco de Esquerda accuses Capitão Ferreira of “arrogance”

With heightened press attention this morning on the possibility of corruption within the former PSD leadership of Rui Rio, the government’s latest casualty – himself in the frame over suspicions of corruption – has pulled out of his eagerly-awaited hearing by the parliamentary commission on defence.

Leader of Bloco de Esquerda left-wingers Mariana Mortágua is not buying the official excuse (that he is now an official suspect in a corruption investigation), saying she believes the refusal to answer MPs questions is motivated by “arrogance”.

Mortágua is calling for ‘explanations’ from the two figures in this controversy who have so far said either nothing, or very little: the current minister of defence Helena Carreiras, and her predecessor João Gomes Cravinho, currently Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“They have an obligation to give answers”, she said – “but the bigger the questions, the more serious the questions, the fewer answers we have from the government; the more authoritarianism we have; the more answers of absolute power we have, and the less humility, transparency and ability to respond to the scrutiny that is the natural scrutiny in the face of situations as serious as these”.

By dint of being serving ministers, Helena Carreiras and João Gomes Cravinho, will have little choice but to face the parliamentary defence commission – and whether a final report on questions over Perfect Storm goes the same way as the final report on TAP is irrelevant, in the end: the public will have seen (or at least read) their responses to MPs’ questions, whether the government decides they are irrelevant and innocuous or not.

“All this news about contracts in the Ministry of Defence makes it increasingly valid that this (Perfect Storm) is not an isolated case, but a repeated problem with contracts in the Ministry of Defence”, Mariana Mortágua told journalists today. “That is why we argue that there needs to be an audit that cannot be done by the Ministry of Defence services themselves. It has to be a public, serious audit, I think the Court of Auditors would be the best entity to be able to audit and understand what is going on with contracts at the Ministry of Defence,” she said, just as ‘all hell broke loose’ journalistically speaking, with the PJ swoop on businesses and premises connected to Rui Rio’s years at the helm of the Social Democrat party.

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