Lagos Câmara President investigated

THE HEAD of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Lagos, Júlio José Monteiro Barroso, who is also the president of Lagos Câmara, is being investigated for discrepancies in the Rainha D. Leonor retirement home’s financial records.

The investigation is being fronted by the Public Ministry and the judicial police (PJ) and began following information from a report by the Social Security General Inspection at the home two years ago.

The investigation will call the vice-president of Portimão Câmara, Luís Manuel de Carvalho Carito, who was also head of the Regional Social Security Centre of the Algarve in 2000, as a witness. At the centre of the investigation are two construction projects at the home, one in 2000 and the other in 2006.

Renovations or repair work on state owned property must be applied for at the Regional Social Security Centre, where projects are approved and funds allocated.

The total value of the two projects at the home was 3.165 million euros, which investigators believe to be much higher than was necessary for the work carried out.

The state gave the home for the elderly 2.987 million euros towards the construction work.

A similar investigation in 2000 detected illicit conduct on the part of the home as there was a belief that double the amount of funding was obtained for the same work.

The investigation was dismissed when it failed to confirm this on the basis of testimony from Carito. It did reveal that two separate applications for funding were submitted by the Santa Casa de Misericórdia for the retirement home and an integrated care unit.

Júlio Barroso has been the head of the Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Lagos since 1998, which is governs nine facilities in the area including the Rainha D. Leonor retirement home.

At the time of going to press, Barroso had not spoken to the press about the investigation.