Albuquerque and Calado investigated for corruption

Funchal municipal authority raided by police

Quinta Vigia, one of the targets for the corruption investigation

A complicated picture is emerging this morning as the Judicial Police carry out searches at the official residence of Regional President Miguel Albuquerque, following the judicial operation into possible corruption that mobilized around a hundred inspectors and prosecutors from the Public Ministry.

TV station CNN reports that the president of Funchal City Council has been detained. In addition to Quinta Vigia, researchers are also at the Government Palace, Avenida Zarco and Funchal City Hall. Miguel Albuquerque remains in his private residence.

The Mayor of Funchal will be monitoring the proceedings of the Judiciary Police, according to CMTV – Correio da Manhã TV.

The same channel also reported, live from Funchal, that the process will involve a regional secretary who has already been asked to waive his immunity in order to be made a defendant in the corruption case.

What JM describe as a mega-operation is taking place in Madeira, as part of three separate investigations into suspected corruption and associated crimes. The municipality informed, in a note to the media, that the searches are ongoing, guaranteeing that it is cooperating in the ongoing investigation and providing all the requested information, in a spirit of good cooperation.

Since the Judiciary Police inspectors entered the Funchal municipality, at 9:00 am, some employees and those who work directly in the Presidency of the municipality led by Pedro Calado, were left without access to their computers, as JM was able to determine.

Searches are taking place as part of an investigation by the PJ and the Public Ministry at Funchal City Council and also at the regional executive, whose building, at the Government Palace, is also being searched by the PJ and DCIAP.

tvi.pt are reporting direct from Funchal and are saying that Pestana Group are involved in the corruption investigation. More than 100 searches are being conducted.

CNN are summarising this lunchtime:

The Judiciary Police and the Public Ministry have more than a hundred searches underway, on suspicion of corruption and other associated crimes involving the highest public and political office holders in Madeira, CNN Portugal understands. Two of the targets of the operation are the president of the regional government himself, Miguel Albuquerque, and the president of the Chamber of Funchal, Pedro Calado.

This is the one who was until now considered Albuquerque’s potential successor at the helm of the PSD/Madeira. He was vice-president of the regional government until he took over leadership of the chamber in 2021. Previously, he had worked for the AFA business group, which owns the Savoy hotels – and it is with this group that the Public Ministry considers that Pedro Calado has a corruptive pact, of favour with the appropriate municipal licensing approvals, in exchange for compensation.

But there are also suspicions of corruption for Miguel Albuquerque and other senior political decision-makers in regional power, in alleged promiscuity with economic groups. The mega-operation on the island of Madeira involves more than a hundred PJ inspectors and DCIAP prosecutors and involves three distinct processes, in which some of the protagonists intersect. 

observador.pt update implicates AFA Group

There are more than 100 searches being carried out by the Judiciary Police (PJ) in Madeira and in various parts of the Continent, involving more than 300 inspectors — the searches were reported by CNN Portugal. Three investigations are at stake which, among others, target Miguel Albuquerque, president of the Regional Government of Madeira, Pedro Calado, president of the Chamber of Funchal and former no. 2 of Albuquerque in the regional executive, and Avelino Farinha, president of the Council of Administration of the AFA Group which operates hotels in Madeira under the Savoy Signature brand.

These are the three main targets of the ongoing judicial searches, with the Funchal City Council, led by the social democrat Pedro Calado, and the homes of Miguel Albuquerque and Avelino Farinha being some of the targets that were visited by the PJ. Albuquerque and Calado will allegedly be suspected of passive corruption and Avelino Farinha will allegedly be suspected of active corruption, among other crimes.

Pedro Calado and Avelino Farinha have been detained to be taken before a criminal investigation judge to apply coercive measures.

The Observer knows that the three criminal investigations into corruption that gave rise to these searches also involve several regional secretaries of the Government of Madeira (the equivalent of ministers of the Government of the Republic).

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A new, vastly improved “search” facility has been introduced allowing readers to search (box in the sidebar above) on any word or phrase used in any of the posts over the last sixteen years. Previously the search facility only returned matches on headings rather than the entire content. It remains to be seen whether this will slow the blog down – fingers crossed! If it works it should move the blog even further ahead of the increasing number of imitators, providing a huge resource for visitors and residents.

21 thoughts on “Albuquerque and Calado investigated for corruption”

  1. Wow! This is interesting indeed! We all know about the ongoing corruption in Madeira, so… if the police tells us they did not find anything, we can assume they are paid to do so.
    A real investigation was long, if not very long overdue, and we can only hope this event is the beginning of the end of the rule of big money (read: Sousas) on the island. Fingers crossed, but I don´t hold my breath.

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    • On the contrary, CarlosP, a healthy dose of mistrust in the Portuguese authorities. Their track record where corruption and abuse of power is concerned is not the best.

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      • Well the stat of affairs of the UK neither are any better all the corruption investigations and esquires brush under the carpet . At least around where they are getting better dealing with this type of situations .

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  2. @Peter

    “We all know about the ongoing corruption in Madeira, so… if the police tells us they did not find anything, we can assume they are paid to do so.”

    Too much Poncha Peter ??

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  3. Well I never,corruption in governments, of anyone wants planning for anything then get it in,in next twelve months.
    Architecture David its beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and there is strong argument,that it has to controversial to move forward,that’s not to say some of it,isn’t ” ugly” Madeira has a great deal of Art Deco, which I personally do not like, but I know a lot of people who love it. So on that basis alone it should be represented ,but it’s not in context here, this is about corruption at the highest level,if its proved true,then let’s hope for the sake of every Madeirian that some good comes out of it,and anyone convicted of it,is duly sentenced and barred from ever holding office again, and suitable sanctions to retrieve any ill gotten gains ( repatriated to the public purse) are taken. That MIGHT keep future holders of public office on the straight and narrow.
    We can all live in hope.

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  4. Thé initial planning permission for thé Savoy limited its height. They were already building when they decided they wanted to add more floors on top. Not withstanding objections, they went ahead and exceeded the height limitations. They got away with it. As Peter said, should have been investigated a long time ago.

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  5. I don’t doubt that corruption has existed, but that’s part of political life, anyone who thinks a big number of people,dont go into politics other than to feather their own nests, should be locked up for the crime of naivety.
    This extra floors approach has been around for a very long time, the building where H and Ms is,was also, more floors added than permitted. Stood empty for quite some time,whilst it was looked into, my big concerns would be,did the engineers account for all the extra weight that was imposed on foundations and structure from these extra floors.
    Let’s hope the whole system gets sorted out, in other words,outside engineers to look at the implications of ” These extra floors” on more than just the asphetics of the buildings, for the record, I don’t have an issue with the look of the building but don’t accept any alterations to what was given by way of permissions that were then rough shod ridden over,if that was the case.
    Ask 100 people what they may think of the architecture of the building and you would possibly get at least 2 or 3 variations in response, from hating it,to loving it, to not having an opinion one way or another, ask the staff in there,and you would potentially get a near 100% view that its” great” building
    It’s a subjective argument.
    Let’s stick to what this is about, corruption in high office, if true,then let’s hope that the resulting investigation and possible arrests and prosecutions lead to a better and less corrupt system of government, we can live in hope.

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  6. 📢 Hey everyone! I wanted to take a moment to discuss a topic that is crucial to our society – the presumption of innocence and its relationship with democracy. 🤝

    In recent times, we have witnessed a growing trend of trial by media, where individuals are often judged and condemned in the court of public opinion before they even have a chance to defend themselves in a fair and impartial trial. 🚫⚖️

    While it is essential to hold individuals accountable for their actions, it is equally important to remember the fundamental principle of “innocent until proven guilty.” This principle lies at the core of our democratic values, ensuring that every person is entitled to a fair trial and the opportunity to present their side of the story. 🗽🏛️

    Defence of democracy means standing up against the rush to judgment and the erosion of the presumption of innocence. It means advocating for a system where evidence is thoroughly examined, witnesses are heard, and due process is followed. 📚🔍

    Trial by media can have severe consequences, not only for the individuals involved but also for the overall integrity of our justice system. It can lead to the destruction of reputations, the loss of livelihoods, and the perpetuation of unfair biases. 🚫📰

    Let us remember that our democracy is built on the principles of fairness, justice, and equality. By upholding the presumption of innocence, we ensure that these principles are protected and that no one is unjustly condemned without proper evidence and a fair trial. 🤝🗽

    So, let’s be cautious before jumping to conclusions based solely on media reports. Let’s encourage open-mindedness, critical thinking, and respect for the legal process. Together, we can defend our democracy and ensure that justice is served for all. 💪⚖️

    #PresumptionOfInnocence #DefenceOfDemocracy #FairTrial #JusticeForAll

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  7. Well independent of everything the Madeira Government did a lot for the island and the local people at least you see thing being done and finished . Better wait until all the investigations and enquirers done by the court and police and the see the end result guilty or not guilty .

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  8. Trial by media,is unfortunately the way it works now, and I totally agree with your detailed set out here John, I always try to look at things in a balanced way, I remember many years ago now,running aid trucks into Romania, most organisations were just going over Hungarian border and dropping aid as soon as,turning round and coming back, Why,because you could not get diesel for the trucks and other than what you carry in your tanks, you are not allowed to carry spare in your trucks, I carried 45 gal spares but still not enough, so had to buy it from farmers on black market,then declare on my return,our trucks had been running on red diesel. The point I’m making here is we are all capable of doing underhand things,to get things done. So let’s not presume anything until the justice system has run its course and remember the islands economy is almost 100% reliant on tourists so that’s what has to expand. It can’t stay static, it can’t afford ” not in my back yard” approach, just to stand still it will require the economy to expand by circa 10%

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    • Agree complete there is many people already making a lot assumptions and conclusions about this and doing judgements before even the police and the court investigation and enquirer before even isn’t finished and point the finger and say they are guilty . Leave them doing their job and arrive to the decision if it is guilty or not guilty .

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