Slow progress of justice in corruption cases angers Portuguese society

this slowness of justice It has become one of the headaches of the Portuguese authorities in corruption cases. More than ten years after the outbreak of the emerging financial crisis multiple irregularities In the management of public and private organizations, many of the processes initiated remain unresolved, despite criticism from transparency bodies and judges themselves. Such is the case with the Marquês operation, which puts the former prime minister on trial. Joseph Socrates– or BES case investigating the bankruptcy of the main bank in the country and the management of its then-president, Ricardo Salgado-, both started in 2014.

more than that 80% of Portuguese do not trust justice According to a study published last October by the consumer association DECO, in terms of speed of resolution, almost 60% think that all defendants are not equal before the law. Some data that didn’t surprise Transparency International Portugal president Susana Corado. “Obviously there is a justice for the rich and a justice for the poor. Proof of this are the fixed resources that are available to everyone, but that only someone with a lot of money can keep the processes going for 10 or 15 years,” says the activist.

legal obstacles

In the example of José Sócrates, the former Portuguese prime minister presented five objections and one complaint Since April last year, the judge decided to protect some of the crimes for which he was charged, including money laundering and document fraud. A strategy for the president Portuguese Association of Judges (ASJP), Manuel Soares, should be more limited. “Courts do not have any means to enable them to end abuses of warranties. There must be more tools for a judge to use. stop resources in case there is a deliberate strategy to delay the process”.

The complexity of these cases, which often involve dozens of investigations and companies – in many cases in tax havens – is another factor that contributes to the prolongation of investigations, according to lawyers. He denied 25 of the 31 crimes Socrates was originally charged with, on the following grounds: lack of evidence or prescription for it. This obstacle is added to the scarcity of human and financial resources that the main unions have condemned for years. “There is a lack of investigators and technological deficiencies in the Forensic Police (PJ) to search and investigate. What we have to do to decrypt a mobile phone with relevant information is unacceptable. application to third countriesas in some cases,” says Soares.

political will

Both the Government and the President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousarecognized the lack of effectiveness of justice in corruption-related cases and insisted on the need to improve it. But for now it’s beyond good will little action taken According to the ASJP chairman, it is destined to strengthen existing tools. “Managers know that the problem exists and that a more efficient system tends to hurt certain people, and in many cases, the managers themselves, and that puts us at a loss. willful neglectSoares explains.

According to the latest Corruption Perceptions Index by Transparency International, Portugal has not changed much in its policies to combat illegal activity over the past decade. The report mainly highlights ‘deficiencies in the fight against corruption’. Anti-Corruption Strategywhich excluded the main political bodies as well as the Bank of Portugal . This strategy is implemented by the socialist government in 2020, among other measures, to improve transparency education, detect possible corruption in the public and private sector and speeding up the response times of the judicial system.

his arrival european recovery funds will test the ability of authorized bodies to detect possible corruption. Rebelo de Sousa warned of the need to strengthen transparency in the months ahead, after a year of increasing corruption complaints. PJ collected more 700 complaints in 2021highest figure in the last ten years.

Source: Informacion

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