Attorney General Lucília Gago

Prosecutors causing ‘political discomfort’ in Portugal lose chances of promotion

The “war at the Portuguese Public Ministry” has entered new territory with 33 public prosecutors who have caused ‘discomfort’ to political power reportedly being overlooked for promotion.

Says tabloid Correio da Manhã, 10 of the 33 are considering legal action.

At issue (this time) is a promotions panel that “undervalued certain aspects of magistrates’ curricula” – particularly when this concerned them having been involved in cases of extreme complexity – ‘dispensed with interviews of interested candidates’, ‘changed the make-up of the jury midway’ and ‘altered the form of decision on the day of deliberation’.

Said the paper, there are various examples of what looks like clear bias: Carlos Preces – one of the magistrates that signed off on the charges in Face Oculta (the long-running case that saw various political figures finally accept their sentences and go to jail) and who helped former Attorney General Joana Marques Vidal in the case (still to reach a courtroom) against former Socialist prime minister José Sócrates, ended up being classified in 22nd place. This meant that his hope to be transferred to DIAP in Leiria and Viseu was thwarted. 

Carlos Teixeira, the prosecutor who led the Apito Dourado case – into suspicions of corruption in the world of Portuguese football – was not chosen to head up Porto’s County Court (as he was hoping). Instead he was placed in Porto-Este, which functions as the Court of Penafiel.

Jorge Reis Bravo, who handled the cases on ‘urban transports’ that ‘affected’ Socialist politician Mesquita Machado and various former colleagues, and who investigated council officials in Póvoa de Lanhoso and Vila Verde, was also overlooked, says CM.

“The same happened to José Albuquerque who wasn’t chosen for the country court at Setúbal and Paulo Balsemão Dias who oversaw the Teia case which investigated council officials, the mayor of Barcelos and the former mayor of Santo Tirso. They were both ‘overlooked’ for promotions they had been expecting.

This is all playing out as the Attorney General has been accused of “trying to interfere” in high profile cases, to the point that she could forbid prosecutors from investigating political figures (click here).

Considering the jury in this latest furore involved two members chosen by the Socialist Party, prosecutors are seeing red.

It’s worth adding perhaps that of the various council officials hoping to fight in the next municipal elections, over 100 have been cited in criminal investigations focusing on allegations of ‘abuse of power’, prevarication and corruption (click here).

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