Mayor, deputy mayor suspended following criminal probe

Suspected of abuse of power, prevarication, denial of justice and violation of urban planning rules

The mayor of Tabuaço (Viseu district, north central Portugal) and his deputy have been suspended following a criminal probe led by public prosecutors at DIAP (the department of investigation and penal action).

At issue are suspicions of the crimes of abuse of power, prevarication, denial of justice and violation of urban planning rules.

Three other council officials are also ‘in the frame.

Says a statement by PJ police today, eight home and non-domestic searches were carried out (over two months ago) and important, relevant evidential material seized. The searches covered “various localities in the municipality of Tabuaço.

Investigative measures targeted the mayor (Carlos Carvalho), the deputy mayor (José Carlos Silva) as well as the other employees, “and concerned facts likely, in the abstract, to configure the practice of crimes” as outlined above.

Over the purpose of these alleged crimes, the PJ believe it centred on “the processing of licensing procedures involving urban planning interests of individuals and or economic operators, including possible violation of management instruments and spatial planning”.

Add to this that in the scope of their functions those arrested “failed to implement legal procedures relating to the processing of administrative offences detected and/ or reported by the municipalities services, or third parties, thus allowing the repeated violation of urban planning regulations in force, and the non-collection of fines to the detriment of the public purse”.

The defendants presented themselves for questioning at the Judicial Court of Viseu, where a magistrate ruled that Carlos Carvalho, José Carlos Silva and two of the council employers should be subject to term of identity and residence (TIR), prohibited from “contacting one another, and suspended from exercising public functions.

The third municipal employee has only been subjected to TIR (the lowest form of bail measure control) and forbidden from contacting fellow defendants.