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State reveals it pays 332 former politicians lifetime pensions amounting to €8.7 million a year

It is the latest hot topic simply because it reveals a rogues gallery of former public servants who receive handsome monthly payments from the Portuguese State despite all kinds of controversy.

Perhaps the worst case is that of alleged murderer and former PSD MP Duarte Lima.

Already condemned to 10-years jail for his part in the Homeland fraud trial, Lima continues to evade a prison cell – and Brazilian Justice, which claims it has cast-iron proof of his involvement in the murder of a defenceless elderly woman – while collecting a regular monthly pay cheque of €2,289.10.

Then there is former prime minister José Sócrates. While he put a stop to the “lifetime pensions” that his role model Mário Soares introduced in 1985, he managed to ensure he got a slice of the action.

Under suspicion of fraud and corruption on an apparently massive scale, Sócrates enjoys a lifetime allowance amounting to €2,372.

As leader writers have explained, the best-paid lifetime pensions are 13 times larger than the country’s average wage (€883), and these have been paid out since as far back as 1998 to the last governors of Macau.

Carlos Melancia, for example, has no reason for concern that his name translates as Charles Watermelon, as he has €9,727 per month with which to console himself.

Rocha Vieira, too, enjoys “more than €13,000” per month since 2000, writes Correio da Manhã, while the Algarve’s former mayor of Faro and Tavira, though in receipt of a criminal record now for bending planning rules, is entitled to a monthly payout of €1,317,81.

The brouhaha that has followed CM’s attempts to see these figures up close and in detail promises to reverberate through the corridors of power for weeks to come, particularly as pundits have unearthed a story from 2013 when President Marcelo was a mere television commentator and was advocating “large cuts in lifetime pensions” before any kind of austerity measures were applied to regular pensions.

He also queried the “incomprehensible subsidies” claimed by the country’s Constitutional Court judges.

But as many are now pointing out, in his new role as Head of State, Marcelo may not feel quite the same way as he did three years ago.

Needless to say, a public petition calling for an end, once and for all, for these inflationary payments to former public servants that were never at any point in their political careers short of a bob or two is doing the rounds on the Petição Publica site (http://peticaopublica.com/psign.aspx?pi=contraassubvencoes) and has already gathered over 21,500 signatures.

By NATASHA DONN natasha.donn@algarveresident.com