The mayor of Gaia revealed today that he has ordered an immediate audit of all processes “shrouded in suspicion” as part of Operation Babel, which led to the arrest and detention of the deputy mayor.
“Giventheseriousnessof the issues raised by the inquiry, I ordered the immediate implementation of an audit of all processes involved in suspicions, to be conducted by municipal services and with the support of Professor Fernanda Paula Oliveira, evolving this audit in a broader way to other processes,” said Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues in a statement read at the beginning of the public meeting of the municipal executive.
In addition, the municipality, in the district of Porto, hired Professor Paulo Morais to conduct an audit of administrative procedures of urbanism, in collaboration with the internal technical area of urbanism, he said.
“Let it be clear: if proven true, the situation is unacceptable and does not reflect the management model that the municipality has and that can be attested by hundreds of entrepreneurs, business or private. It is important that justice does its job, without pressure or hasty public judgments. This is the only way to discover the truth and respect the legitimate presumption of innocence,” he said.
The mayor, elected by the PS, guaranteed that the municipality will never abdicate from defending the truth and transparency, whether in urban planning or in other areas of municipal governance.
“And we will do everything to strengthen the mechanisms of control and transparency, avoiding any mechanism that subverts the law and ethics,” he reinforced.
Eduardo Vítor Rodrigues recalled that the municipality manages about 100,000 administrative processes per year, has more than 3,200 workers and manages an annual budget of more than 200 million euros, “always in a transparent and very scrutinized management.
“Can citizens and municipal services continue to trust the smoothness and honesty of those who have run the municipality for 10 years, averse to any kind of behavior totally incompatible with good public management. But let justice inform people, and not people substitute themselves for justice,” he added.
The deputy mayor of Vila Nova de Gaia, socialist Patrocínio Azevedo, was remanded in custody – the most serious measure of restraint, as part of the investigation of Operation Babel, announced on Friday the Court of Criminal Instruction (TIC) of Porto.
This main process of Operation Babel focuses on “the vitiation of rules and instruction of urban licensing processes in favor of developers associated with projects of high density and magnitude, being at stake real estate interests in the order of 300 million euros, by offering and accepting compensation of pecuniary nature”.
The Babel Operation is concerned with crimes of receiving or offering undue advantage, active and passive corruption, prevarication and abuse of power, committed by and on an official or holder of political office.