VRSA Council debts exposed by Finanças Inspectorate
Vila Real de Santo António Council has been playing fast and loose with money from the ‘Programme for Support to the Local Economy’ and is accused of “ruinous management” by simply hiding €5.7 million of associated debts.
According to the CDU coalition party, which has a councillor on the VRSA Council executive and is well place to know the position, the government loan that the Council took on in 2014 in order to ease the interest burden from short-term debts, “was not amortized according to the commitments, revenue objectives and other contractual clauses.”
Inspectors from Finanças noted irregularities in how the money had been accounted for and that, “debt due to litigation problems” had clocked up as have other debts that had been hidden from view.
Other irregularities pointed out as a result of the formal inspection were the “high volume of receipts to justify expenses with money that did not exist” and allowed €25 million of expenses to be incurred, “beyond the existing capacity to promote timely payment.”
The CDU states that the facts, “are likely to generate formal, sanctioning those responsible.”
“The assessment of responsibility will be decided by the Public Prosecutor’s Office at the Court of Auditors, and the reference to Luís Gomes, the head of the PSD at that time, is particularly significant,” added the CDU statement.
The CDU describes a municipality that, “today is strangled with debts, paralysed services, demobilised workers, in a slow agony waiting for the nightmare to end,” as well as having €33 million to pay the bank and €25 million more to pay suppliers. The Council is, “mired in debts and interest, in burdensome and prolonged conditions that banks impose on those who fail.”