The fiddle continues, to the detriment of the Portuguese taxpayer, as the German consortium that supplied two submarines in return for an equal sum to be invested in Portugal, again has managed to bewitch Portugal’s compliant and complacent government.
A hapless secretary of state for the economy today was wheeled out to announce that German company Ferrostaal has finalised a €220 million investment as part of a consortium with Galp and Martifer for the construction of six wind farms.
The Defence Minister Aguiar-Branco has authorised a maintenance contract for the second of the two submarines purchased from Germany, a deal that resulted in corruption and bribery allegations being proved in a German court.
The €5.5 million contract for the Arpão was listed in today’s Official Gazette for completion in 2015 and comes on top of the €4.5 million already spent having the Tridente serviced, two bills that were not budgeted for and will be paid under contracts that conveniently forget that the German consortium that supplied the vessels still owes Portugal €900 million in inward investment.
Monica Ferro from the Social Democratic Party, of which Passos Coelho is the leader, has defended her report into military spending, bribery and poor controls, against opposition accusations that she had to rush to finish most of the work and that is still is not complete.
The 456 page report concludes that the most unsatisfactory part of the procurement of military equipment since 1998 to date has been is the management of the contra deals, where the supplier agrees to invest in Portugal in return for the order.
Portugal’s coalition parties have closed ranks to reject requests from the opposition to extend the submarine enquiry.
Calls for certain government officials to be interviewed a second time were rejected - music to the ears of the deputy prime minister Paulo Portas who oversaw the military purchases in 2004 when Minister of Defence.
The five clans descended from the founder of Banco Espírito Santo discussed details of a €30 million 'commission payment' received by subsidiary Escom at meeting of the Superior Council of Grupo Espírito Santo.
The meeting in November this year was notable for the challenge by José Maria Ricciardi for the Ricardo Salgado’ leadership of the group but also for the discussion of the purchase of two submarines by the Portuguese government from the German consortium led by Ferrostaal,a nd how to divide the commission.
The 'Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Acquisition of Military Equipment,' the one focusing on the purchase of two submarines and the bribes involved in the contract, has proposed a day trip to the Alfeite naval base to visit one of the submarines.
The Commission also has announced a date by which its report will be ready for publication, 2 October 2014, and the parliamentary debate on its finding is scheduled for 8 October.
The German justice system is closing ranks to keep the dirty details of its submarine trial and verdict from Portuguese scrutiny.
In 2011 two directors of submarine consortium partner Ferrostaal were convicted for their illegal bevahiour during the sale of submarines to Greece and Portugal, the pair had bribed officials to make the sales happen.
In a cunningly timed agreement, the government and the German Submarine Consortium have scrapped a previous agreement to develop the Falesia Hotel in Albufeira.
Instead there is an agreement that the Germans will invest €220 million on eco-energy from wind power through an involvement in Ventiveste.