Monchique deputy mayor finally in dock over embezzlement charges

Years after complaints were filed, former deputy mayor of Monchique António Mira is at last in the dock facing seven charges of embezzlement and four of falsifying documents.

The charges relate to the years 2004 to 2009, though much has been written about previous years and the amounts involved.

In 2014, national tabloid Correio da Manhã reported that Mira had not actually submitted a declaration of earnings since 1998.

Under the headline, “Councillor hides earnings for 16 years”, the paper elaborated the charges put to Mira in 2013, adding that current Mayor Rui André had found new data that suggested the amounts Mira was accused of embezzling “could be much greater”.

Anti-corruption blog apodrecetuga talks about “half a million euros” – but that even so Monchique seemed to be ignoring the issue in the early days, with Mira still maintaining his “functions” within the municipality.

On Monday, Mira’s case began being heard in Portimão – with the ‘damages’ listed as “at least €332,000”.

“The former Socialist councillor is accused of using the bills from two council suppliers who had already been paid to falsify date and/or amounts so that the council paid them again”.

CM writes that Mira has admitted the falsification – saying he acted without proper reflection, and without thinking through the “consequences” – but that he did not pocket any of the money.

Mira’s defence is that the money went to pay staff overtime.

There were some members of the council payroll who worked extraordinary hours “beyond those allowed, and worked in their holidays”, said the paper.

Mira told the court that these staff members were paid cash, given to them in envelopes.

The case continues.

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