Coordinator of the commission Maria Rosário Partidário presenting the interim report in Lisbon on December 5. Image: António Pedro Santos/ Lusa

Public Prosecutor’s Office investigates 16 directly-awarded contracts by airport commission

Little over two weeks since it ‘presented’ its interim report on the best location for Lisbon’s new airport, the independent technical commission is back in the news over suspicions that various ‘direct contracts’ it awarded “violated the law”. The suspicions followed “a complaint” (this far anonymous), which ‘on analysis’, the Public Prosecutor’s Office has decided to investigate. Three contracts in particular are said to be particularly under suspicion – one having been celebrated with a company connected to a member of the commission – as they were for amounts that exceeded the limits for contracts awarded without recourse to public tender. In a ‘big splash’ today, tabloid Correio da Manhã also referred to the coordinator of the commission being a distant cousin of the prime minister. The story follows many others before it that have suggested the commission was not as independent as its title suggests.