Infrastructure minister João Galamba - Photo: MIGUEL A. LOPES/LUSA
Infrastructure minister João Galamba - Photo: MIGUEL A. LOPES/LUSA

TAP inquiry “no closer to discovering truth” following minister’s grilling

João Galamba’s testimony managed to involve other ministries, even the PM

Yesterday’s long-awaited questioning of infrastructures minister João Galamba by the parliamentary commission tasked with unpicking the confusion of management decisions at flagship airline TAP did not bring any hope for ‘results’: the inconsistencies, particularly with regard to the apparent ‘punch-up’ at the ministry on April 26, are no less inconsistent, in spite of hours of questioning and Mr Galamba’s repeated insistings that he has “never lied to the country”.

As one leader writer encapsulates, “on Wednesday – during the hearing of Mr Galamba’s former aide Frederico Pinheiro – one of the MPs on the commission remarked ‘between today and tomorrow we will have one liar in the commission’ (it is just a matter of working out who it is).

“After the marathon of questions and accusations posed for two days, we are left without knowing whether there is only one liar in this outrageous case or two, or even several…”

One thing is certain, PS Socialists may find the whole ‘theatre’ of this inquiry hugely embarrassing, but there is no intention within the party of letting Mr Galamba fall (further) from grace, without proof.

That said, political analysts have made much of the inconsistencies that persist, not least the ‘new nugget’, which suggests prime minister António Costa – who claims to have known nothing of the alleged punch-up and the calling in of SIS secret services – apparently did know. 

According to Mr Galamba, he was telephoned by his minister between 1am and 2am on April 27 – at which point Galamba “will certainly have mentioned the involvement of SIS”, analyst Luís Delgado surmises.

This, Delgado tells SIC Notícias, is “the most complicated situation to have come out of this inquiry” (as it suggests further inconsistencies at the highest end of the political food chain).

For now, the situation is a little like ‘much ado about nothing’ – a great deal has, in fact, happened, but nothing is clear; there appears to be no solid proof to hold on to – and certainly the prime minister is seemingly busy elsewhere, engaged in international geopolitical matters, far away from this unseemingly local skirmish.

As this text went up online, IL (Iniciative Liberal) was calling for the prime minister to be called to give his version of events to the commission. Party leader Rui Rocha told journalists this morning: “In the situation in which we are, in the situation of degradation of institutions in which we are, democracy would gain a lot if the Prime Minister, in an act of courage and transparency, came in person to the TAP commission of inquiry to clarify his involvement in this process.” 

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