Another Olhão Council employee arrested for corruption
A third Olhão council employee has been detained on suspicion of passive corruption by demanding money from property owners to let them off building infractions.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that a ‘senior technician in the private works section of Olhão council’ has been arrested .
In a statement, the Faro District Attorney added that there are “suspicions that the detained person, a public official, had requested money from individuals for technical opinions contrary to the law but favorable to the licensing of works.”
As part of the investigation, the police carried out searches at the defendants’ homes and at their offices in the council building.
The detainees will up before the Faro judge within two days to see if they can be allowed home, or detained pending trial.
This is the second time in the last two years that there have been arrests of Olhão council employees.
In April 2016, two building inspectors from the council were arrested and accused of a specimen charge of demanding €4,000 from a property owner in return for ‘looking the other way’ over irregularities.
The two employees had demanded money from a local property owner or else he would be fined for unlicensed work.
Later searches uncovered €33,000 in cash at the home of one of the council employees who failed to provide a credible reason why so much cash was at her property.
“Using their professional status, they would receive money from third-parties to carry out acts that went against their duties,” read the police statement at the time.
One of the defendants was sentenced to three years in prison and the other to three years and one month in prison, both sentences were suspended.
Olhão’s mayor, António Pina, failed to sack the two women despite their convictions, thus condoning their behaviour, despite having gone on record, stating that “it is important to fight corruption in public services.”
When the sentences were issued, the Public Ministry stated that it was considering appealing the judge’s decision as sentences of over three years can not be suspended and the pair should have gone to jail.
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