Re: Rotten to the core

Dear Editor,
I don’t know if anyone else scratched their heads in disbelief over your recent report entitled “Rotten to the Core”.
“Talking at a conference entitled: “Corruption: Cause or Consequence of the Crisis”, Morais maintained corruption and conflicts of interest are “permitted” by the Portuguese state “because Parliament has as many as 60 MPs who are also consultants and administrators of firms that do business with the state”.
How is this possible?! I read elsewhere: “In 31 of the top 50 listed companies on the Portuguese Stock Exchange, there are 51 politicians in management, administration and supervisory positions. 56% of these politicians are crammed into just nine of the listed companies. 47% are or were ministers and many of them hold jobs in more than one company.”
Even more horrifying was the revelation that Defence Minister José Pedro Aguiar Branco “managed to find the time to earn a fee from Portucel, Semapa and Impresa while at the same time running Portugal’s army, navy and airforce”.
In view of all the petitions that seem flying about all the time – and our almost daily diet of corruption stories – isn’t it about time someone raised a petition demanding to know the reason WHY politicians hold these myriad extraneous jobs?
Can they really be paid so little that they have to bump up incomes with such blatant conflicts of interest?
Wouldn’t Portugal be better off if they didn’t?