Expatica news

Taxpayers shell out for control of SIRESP emergency communications system

fireforestTaxpayers unwittingly have stumped up €487 million to take control of the flawed national emergency communication system, SIRESP.

The government has paid a final sum of €7 milion to Altice and Motorola to buy control over the flawed system.

The decision was approved this Thursday in the Council of Ministers and comes two years after the end of the contract and after the payment of about €487 million over the life of the current contract, according to data from the Technical Unit for Monitoring Projects.

The Council’s decision is the culmination of a process that began in 2017, when the failures of the system during the fatal Pedrógão Grandefire became evident.

Twice, the Court of Auditors refused to authorise government expenditure on SIRESP shares, in October 2018 and March 2019.

The latest Court judgment points to the need to investigate the responsibility of public servants as they acted outside their remit when the investment was made.

Altice – which holds 52.1% of SIRESP – and Motorola – with 14.9% – expressed satisfaction with the “conclusion of the agreement” of the purchase by the State of its shares in SIRESP.

The original SIRESP contract was signed in July 2006 – with a planned investment of €463 million euros to the end of 2013 after which, in 2014, the system was to have national coverage.

According to the 2007 State Budget, the expenditure forecast for the system was €587.1 million to 2021.

The PSD opposition wants the Government to explain the ins and outs of the SIRESP purchase, “We want to see if this is a Chinese business,” said Deputy Duarte Marques, failing to explain this curious and disrespectful comment.

The PCP reckons that the State should have assumed public control “without spending resources” adding that “a tree that is born crooked, never straightens,” referring to the technical problems with SIRESP, that the system has been paid for several times over and the report of the technical committee has not been published so how does the government know what is good vale and what is throwing good money after bad.

The Minister of the Presidency said yesterday that it makes perfect sense for the State to have control over a system that “annually supports more than 35 million calls to more than 40,000 users and which involves the essential security of the country and of the citizens.”