Carlos Pereira has said he hopes his stepping back from role as coordinator will give the troubled commission of inquiry
Carlos Pereira has said he hopes his stepping back from role as coordinator will give the troubled commission of inquiry "necessary tranquility". Image: Manuel de Almeida/ Lusa

New controversy sees Socialist MP leave TAP inquiry

Carlos Pereira’s withdrawal follows reports of alleged favoritism

Yet another controversy has emerged from the ongoing parliamentary inquiry into management decisions at Portugal’s flagship airline TAP – and this time it has been ‘enough’ for the coordinator of PS Socialists MPs on the parliamentary commmittee to quit his position.

Carlos Pereira had already been implicated in the issue of a meeting that took place to allegedly ‘prepare’ the former TAP CEO for her first round of questions in parliament.

His presence at that meeting saw MPs of CHEGA and Iniciativa Liberal question his continuance on the commission of inquiry.

Now, tabloid Correio da Manhã, has come up with an ‘exclusive’ alleging Pereira benefitted from ‘favoritism’ extended by State bank Caixa Geral de Depósitos. 

According to CM, the bank slashed €66,000 off debts due to it from a company for which Pereira was a guarantor.

The MP has rejected the idea that any favoritism was at play.

He told Lusa today that he provided CM with “all the clarifications” that were requested of him (to show this). But, he has nonetheless decided to leave his duties on the parliamentary body that is almost daily lifting the lid on all manner of questions and inconsistencies.

In a written statement sent to Lusa, Carlos Pereira explains that his decision to step down involves the need to “protect the results of to be ascertained in the commission of inquiry, and safeguard the higher interests of the Socialist Party” – the credibility of which has taken a battering in recent weeks, particularly when it comes to events within TAP. 

Pereira specifically refers to the news of ‘recent weeks’ saying that it has contributed to “deepening an unjustified climate of suspicion

“I decided to ask the chairman of the PS Parliamentary Group to relieve me of my duties as coordinator of the Socialist Party MPs on the Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry into the Political Management of TAP, as well as of my presence on the Committee,” he said.

Meantime, the new CEO at the airline, Luís Rodrigues, has taken up the reins with an unenviable task ahead of him. As Observador online explains, TAP syndicates will be asking their new boss to bring an end to the “management by algorithm” model, and restore slashed salaries.

The 13 syndicates have warned that if management decisions do not go their way “unions will have no choice but to take a position which, although undesirable, is legitimate, given the absolute disproportionality that exists, and which should have been eliminated long ago”.

According to Observador, Luís Rodrigues has roughly a 30-day grace period ahead of him in which to win workers over, and then get on with the ‘main task’ of preparing the airline for privatisation (almost certainly at a crippling loss to the public purse).

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