Santana Lopes party says Defense Minister "can not continue in office" – Jornal Econômico

Santana Lopes party says Defense Minister "can not continue in office" - Jornal Econômico

The new party of Pedro Santana Lopes, "Alliance", considers that the Tancos process is politically weakening the Minister of National Defense, arguing that Azeredo Lopes "can not continue in office."

In a statement, the party of former Prime Minister Pedro Santana Lopes, who is in the process of formalizing the Constitutional Court, considers that "the head of the Government and the President of the Republic, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, must take the necessary decision to defend the internal and external image of state institutions and for the good of Portugal. "

"Undoubtedly – and independent of the aforementioned – it is the recognition of the excessive political fragility that the inconceivable succession of events in the Tancos process provoked in the holder of the National Defense portfolio," the Alliance said in a statement.

"It is obvious that the most basic safeguard of respect due to the Armed Forces and other relevant entities of the State, allows no other conclusion than that the minister is not able to continue in the position," he adds.

The Alliance understands that the facts that have occurred, "whose seriousness can not be silenced and that respect or involve institutions of Justice, Internal Administration and National Defense, raise fundamental concerns."

On September 25, during the Operation Húbris, the Judiciary Police investigated the case of the recovery in Chamusca in October 2017 of the firearms in Tancos, the director and three other officers of the PJM, one civilian and three elements of the Criminal Investigation Nucleus of the GNR of Loulé.

On Monday he arrived in Portugal and Major Vasco Brazão, who was a spokesman for the PJM, was detained and was on a mission in the Central African Republic.

According to the Public Prosecutor's Office, these are "facts that may include crimes of criminal association, denial of justice, prevarication, falsification of documents, influence peddling, personal favoritism practiced by an employee, abuse of power, prescription, detention of prohibited weapon and trafficking of arms ".

The theft of military equipment from the Tancos warehouses – which had since been shut down – was unveiled at the end of June 2017. Among the stolen material were grenades, including anti-tank, plastic explosives and a large quantity of ammunition

The online edition of the weekly Expresso published on Thursday that the former spokesman of the Military Judiciary Police (PJM), Major Vasco Brazão, told the investigative investigating judge to recover the stolen military material in Tancos that, in the last year, and after the weapons had been recovered, he informed the defense minister, together with the then director of that police, of the "staging jointly with the GNR of Loulé around the recovery of the guns" of the national treasury of Tancos.

According to the Expresso, which refers to sources of the case, Vasco Brazão stated in court that he delivered personally at the end of last year a memorandum explaining the whole operation to the chief of staff of Azeredo Lopes, adding that Lieutenant General Martins Pereira contacted the minister, at the head of the two members of the PJM, to inform him of the situation.

Still on Thursday in Brussels, the Minister of National Defense denied "categorically" that "he was aware of any cover-up in this process."

"I was not aware of any fact that would allow me to believe that there was any cover-up in the discovery of Tancos military equipment," he said.

Earlier Thursday evening, in an email sent to the Lusa agency, the former chief of staff of the defense minister admitted that he received Colonel Luís Vieira and Major Brazão in November, but never "discovered" any "indication of concealment of possible culprits of the robbery of Tancos ".

Today, the prime minister, António Costa, assured that he maintains the confidence in the Minister of Defense, Azeredo Lopes, considering that, on the case of Tancos, "much to clarify, since the capture of thieves".

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