Government to intervene if Raríssimas scandal not rapidly resolved

With the Raríssimas scandal now slowly becoming ‘last week’s news’, the government has publicly accepted that it will have to intervene if the charity cannot resolve the crisis on its own.

Meantime, the former president of the organisation set up to support people with rare diseases has refused to step down as director-general of the patient care home Casa dos Marcos, saying she will only go if dismissed with relevant financial benefits.

Paula Brito e Costa said last week that she would continue to turn up for work at Casa dos Marcos while investigators looked into the financial situation at Raríssimas – but this has in fact not happened, say reports.

On Monday, when a posse of staff were poised to convene outside the building, prepared for some kind of showdown, Brito e Costa was nowhere to be seen.

Now, Social Security ministry inspectors are in evidence inside the building round-the-clock (including weekends) to ensure a “rapid investigation into the accounts and all management documents”, says Correio da Manhã.

The Minister of Labour and Social Security Vieira da Silva has answered questions in parliament, stressing that “at no time” was the Raríssimas association given favourable treatment, despite the fact that it has been receiving well over a million euros in funding from various government sources for the last few years, and despite the apparently parlous state of its financial accounts.

Reports have stressed nonetheless that Vieira da Silva’s ‘grilling’ was spared any questions by government allies normally highly-critical of any kind of institutional ‘scandal’.

With care and work ongoing at Casa dos Marcos – named after Marco, the disabled son of Paula Brito e Costa who was the impetus behind her work with Raríssimas – the association’s next general assembly (January 3) is expected to establish who, in future, will take up the reins of power.

And as for further talk about the secretary of state for health Manuel Delgado who resigned over a TVI documentary into the affair (click here), there has been very little since he said he was considering suing the station as its intrusion into his life had “exceeded all limits”.

[email protected]

Photo: LUSA