The parliamentary leader of the PSD said this Wednesday that the party will decide “depending on the answers” of the Prime Minister to the questions that the Social Democrats posed whether to advance to a parliamentary commission of inquiry into the relationship with the Bank of Portugal.
“We never ruled out that possibility”, replied Joaquim Miranda Sarmento, questioned by journalists in Parliament it is possible to advance, in the future, to this parliamentary instrument, after the party announced on Tuesday the sending of 12 questions to António Costa, whose content Lusa disclosed in the morning.
The leader of the social democratic bench defended that “at this moment what is necessary, what was more relevant, was to put a set of questions to the prime minister”, which have already been entered in Parliament, and that he hopes that they will be answered “as soon as possible”.
“Depending on the responses, we will make a decision on whether to continue with this process,” he added.
asked if agrees to vote in favor of the proposal for a commission of inquiry on the same subject already submitted to Parliament for the Chega party, Miranda Sarmento postponed that decision for later.
“It is a decision that we will take in due time and depending on the answers to these 12 questions,” he said.
The PSD parliamentary leader declined to respond to suspicions raised by Chega that the social democrats could have chosen to make these questions such as “delaying maneuver” to protect former and current party leaders in the area of banking.
“Chega has this practice of trying to throw mud over the discussion, we are not going after controversies, we are going after the facts and what matters to the Portuguese”, he said.
Joaquim Miranda Sarmento explained that, following the book based on the testimonies of former Banco de Portugal governor Carlos Costa, the PSD considered that “a set of revelations about the relationship of the Prime Minister of Banco de Portugal in banking matters” has been made.
“Whether in relation to the influence that the prime minister tried to have with the Bank of Portugal for the appointment of engineer Isabel dos Santos to the administration [do BIC]or in Banif”, he explained, saying that the party expects “a full explanation of what happened in these two matters”.
In the questions, Miranda Sarmento details that the PSD wants to know if the phone call reported by Carlos Costa with António Costa took place – which he considered “practically confirmed” – and “what were the reasons that led the prime minister to so grossly violate the independence of the central bank”.
“And how did the prime minister find out, so quickly, about the meeting between Isabel dos Santos and the governor, what channels of communication existed?”, he questioned, saying that the meeting took place in the morning and the phone call was made in the afternoon.
PSD WANTS ANSWERS ON THE BANIF CASE
At stake, according to the former governor and in a version disputed by the prime minister (who has already announced a lawsuit against Carlos Costa for “false and offensive” statements), is a phone call from António Costa on April 12, 2016 in which the Prime Minister reportedly told him that “you cannot treat badly the daughter of the president of a country that is friendly to Portugal”in what he understood as a request for the Bank of Portugal not to remove the Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos (daughter of the then President of Angola José Eduardo dos Santos) from the administration of BIC.
As for Banif, the PSD wants answers about “the purpose and objectives” of the letter sent by the Government to the European Central Bank and the European Commission “by default of the central bank and Banif” and what is the relationship between the letter and news, the day before, on TVI that was against the bank’s resolution, “precipitating a run on deposits and the resolution itself”.
The parliamentary leader of the PSD detailed that the party also wants to know what contacts the Government has made, prior to the resolution, with the Directorate General for Competition and the ECB, if there have been diligences with potential buyers, and if António Costa was aware of “possible contacts between Banco Santander [que veio a comprar parte do Banif] and the then Minister of Finance, Mário Centeno”, current governor of Banco de Portugal.
According to the Constitution, constitutes power of the deputies “to ask questions to the Government about any acts of this or of the Public Administration and to obtain a reply in a reasonable period, except for the provisions of the law on matters of State secrecy”.
The Rules of Procedure of the Assembly of the Republic specify that “the Government and the Public Administration must respond with the urgency that the question justifies, and the response must not exceed 30 days”.
“Whenever the Government or the Public Administration cannot respond within the set period, they must communicate this fact in writing to the President of the Assembly, presenting the respective reasons also in writing”, it adds.