Husband rides to defence of Secretary of State under fire
Facing journalists today, and insisting his wife has "nothing to do with any of this", former mayor of Vinhais Américo Pereira

Husband rides to defence of Secretary of State under fire

Undeclared income: an “accounting error to be explained at appropriate time”

The husband of Portugal’s new Secretary of State for Agriculture – under fire within hours of being sworn in – has said the ‘frozen bank accounts’ issue has “absolutely nothing” to do with her, and has not been presented correctly anyway.

Américo Pereira, the former mayor of Vinhais, has told reporters that he cannot stay quiet in the face of “a series of falsehoods” now circulating.

He stressed that joint bank accounts with his wife, Carla Alves, have not been seized – as published now throughout the media; only one bank account has been affected, and his wife has already prepared a statement to explain none of this has anything to do with her. 

“The discrepancy that the Public Prosecutor has found refers to an accounting error”, he told his audience. “Prosecutors gathered all entries into the bank accounts and added them up. Then they said “can you please explain where all this has come from…”

As he stressed, almost no-one in Portugal only has their own salaries going into bank accounts: there are family matters, etc., like inheritances or the affairs of loved ones, that can become involved. And this is the case in this situation – which he stresses “has absolutely nothing to do” with his wife.

In short, there has been “no entry of illicit money” into the bank accounts of the couple – and as for the case against him, involving the sale of Seminary land and alleged corruption, that too will all be explained, at the correct moment.

His defence is “very well organised”; he is simply upset, very upset, that a woman “who has always given proof of honesty and great technical and intellectual competence” should be facing such media furore.

“It is a great injustice”, said Mr Pereira, who says the Public Prosecutor has one interpretation of the situation, but that this does not mean it is the right interpretation.

As to the issue of Carla Alves’ alleged favouring of a brother-in-law with regard to a contract involving the national association of producers of ‘porco bísaro’ pigs, Mr Pereira had “no knowledge” of the situation.

With the CDS-PP ‘demanding’ Carla Alves’ resignation, PM Costa has had the misfortune to be ‘on the spot in parliament’, taking part in the debate on the ‘motion of censure’ lodged by Iniciativa Liberal.

He posed the question, is a government to be judged on its results, or on its composition, to hear IL’s outgoing leader João Cotrim de Figueiredo thunder back: “The composition is in disarray and the results are miserable. That is why we are convinced that now is the time to change the government…”

For an executive trying to ‘turn the page’ on scandals, this has proved to be another very difficult day.