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Parliament ‘seeks to send MPs to jail if they fudge earnings declarations’

Parliament ‘seeks to send MPs to jail if they fudge earnings declarations’In an ostensibly upbeat story, SIC television news reported on Monday that parliament is working on plans to ‘get tough’ with politicians who don’t fully report their wealth and earnings.

The new crime of ‘qualified disobedience’ could send errant politicians to jail for three years, explained the report, stressing that MPs are working on “increasing sanctions” and widening the scope of the crime to include other professions like judges, magistrates and senior civil servants.

But civic association TI, standing for ‘Transparência e Integridade’ – the Portuguese branch of Transparency International, – is dubious.

President João Paulo Batalha claims MPs are “creating the illusion” of reinforcing checks and balances on each other but that in reality nothing will change.

Talking to tabloid Correio da Manhã, Batalha explains that by and large MPs DO report on their wealth and earnings. They simply leave out a lot of detail.

Combine that with the fact that there is not the manpower available to check every single one of the declarations made by the country’s 18,000 ‘politicians’ (these include councillors, mayors etc.) and the situation is clear.

According to Batalha, right now there are only four ‘officials’ tasked with checking politicians’ wealth and earnings declarations.

If one considers that other professions within the public sector are to be brought on board, there simply will be too much for these four people to cope with, he told CM.

The paper explains that details habitually ‘left out’ by politicians are those relating to their personal savings and property.

Last year, 639 cases were flagged on figures thought to have scrimped on declarations. Only 136 saw any action taken, and in the end only five people – two councillors and three public officials – were “prevented from performing their duties”.

While TI is unimpressed with the results – saying a lot more ‘means’ are required to ensure transparency – SIC suggests parliament’s new ‘law’ is close to emerging.

MPs have been working on it since 2016, says the station, and their proposals should be ready sometime this month.

The plan will then be subjected to potential tweaks from “various contributions” – almost certainly getting a thumbs down from the association of borough councils.

Concluding SIC’s report, PCP communist leader Jerónimo de Sousa said that for members of his party, “special measures” are simply not needed as laws governing politicians’ duties already exist, and are there to be complied with.

Readers may recall that back at the start of this government’s legislature, a proposed law to criminalise “unjustified enrichment” was thrown out by the Constitutional Court.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

Article courtesy of The Portugal Resident

Comments  

+4 #5 Boris H 2019-03-17 09:47
Quoting nogin the nog:
hmm.
So there are no laws here covering unjustified
inrichment. Happy days for those applying for your golden visas..

....................................
Unjustified enrichment, not only exists in Portuguese Law, but also in EU Law.
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-3 #4 nogin the nog 2019-03-14 12:32
hmm.
So there are no laws here covering unjustified
inrichment. Happy days for those applying for your golden visas..
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+5 #3 charly 2019-03-13 17:17
Dear J. Bull: what's your point, please ?
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+2 #2 charly 2019-03-13 11:52
Finally… some "good news" from Portugese parliament !
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-5 #1 J.Bull 2019-03-13 10:26
If the UK is 'forced' to return to the EU madhouse for any length of time this sort of anti-EU activity must be dealt with. Criminalising bad behaviour in Portugal is intentional nonsense. As often pointed out it is patently absurd to attempt to claim YOUR EU mandated Citizens Rights in Portugal - mostly 'junior' Civil Law - when whoever is abusing your rights can automatically claim Defamation. Which as a 'senior' Criminal / Penal Law offence; therefore has the state apparatus backing it and is whisked into court without delay. Even without this, the judge dealing with your fraud claim for example, will happily rule against their countryman/woman knowing full well that the relevant assets are now safely banked with a 3rd party. Even a family member will do, so entirely safe. Alternately the miscreant has declared bankruptcy in the years before judgement, has served his ban and is now out trading again. Again safe from any claim.
Never forget the widespread saying here that "there is no law in Portugal against cheating a north European" (i.e signatory countries at the Berlin Conference of 1884 now in the EU)
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