The mayor of Lisbon said this Wednesday that the proposal for a new hotel in the city that allegedly will have links to Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, whose assets are seized, has been withdrawn and will not be discussed again.
“I withdrew the proposal. The proposal does not go to the chamber. There is no proposal”, said Carlos Moedas (PSD), after being questioned by PS councilwoman Inês Drummond about whether she would present the document again at a meeting of the city council executive.
At the public meeting of the chamber, the socialist Inês Drummond recalled that it was the PS that warned of the need to clarify doubts about the alleged connections of the project promoter for a new hotel in the center of Lisbon and the Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos.
The PS councilor stated that “it is in the public domain” the history of the promoter, the company H33 – Sociedade Imobiliária, “with no known management for three years, and in which the last known managers are publicly referenced as representatives of Isabel dos Santos’ interests “.
Inês Drummond questioned thecompetence of the Councilor for Urbanism, Joana Almeida (independently elected by the “Novos Tempos” coalition – PSD/CDS-PP/MPT/PPM/Aliança), which also has the responsibility for Transparency and Combating Corruptionconsidering that this was “an error that should have been identified”.
On January 11, the Lisbon Chamber postponed the vote on the proposal, to clarify doubts about the promoter.
“As soon as this information was transmitted to me, I withdrew this proposal, but I am not a policeman”, said Carlos Moedas, adding that the chamber does not have the role of Judiciary Police, noting that the process was submitted in 2019 and stating that, if anyone had previously known and did not withdraw the proposal, that is what is worrying”.
“A little more needs to be done in terms of transparency and the fight against corruption”
The PS councilor reinforced that “it is necessary to do a little more in transparency and the fight against corruption”, referring, ironically, that the councilors of Urbanism and Transparency and Fight against Corruption “have to communicate better with each other”.
To end the “ping-pong” of questions and answers, the mayor broke the discussion with the proposal of a questionnaire, in allusion to what is now required of members of the Government, and the socialist replied:
“I don’t know if it passes the questionnaire”.
At issue is a proposal signed by Councilor Joana Almeida, which was on the agenda for the private meeting on January 11to “approve, conditioned, the architectural project for alteration works with expansion, to be carried out in the property at Rua Alexandre Herculano n.º 33-33A, turning to n.º 28 of Rua Castilho, in the parish of Santo António, which constitutes case No. 1250/EDI/2019”.
It is proposal intended to transform this residential building in the center of Lisbon in a “tourist development, consisting of 22 five-star tourist apartments and a commercial establishment on the ground floor”.
In response to questions from the Lusa agency, on January 12, the Urban Planning Council referred that the process for licensing a project for the installation of a hotel in a building on Rua Alexandre Herculanoperpendicular to Avenida da Liberdade, in the parish of Santo António, promoted by the company H33 – Sociedade Imobiliária, as owner of the building, was submitted to the Lisbon City Council (CML) in 2019in the previous executive, under the presidency of Fernando Medina (PS).
“Any question of possible seizure, once again, is not part of the powers of the Lisbon City Council. This issue is only taken into account in the licensing if it is reflected in the process instruction documents, which does not happen in this case”, he indicated the office of the councilor for Urbanism and Transparency and Fight against Corruption.
On December 19th, the Angolan Supreme Court (TS) determined the preventive seizure of the assets of businesswoman Isabel dos Santosvalued at one billion dollars (941 million euros), namely 100% of the shares in the company Embalvidro, where the defendant is the beneficial owner.
According to the judgment to which the Lusa agency had access, the TS criminal chamber refers that the arrest also covers all bank balances of titled or co-titled demand deposits, headquartered in all banking institutionsincluding time deposit accounts, other financial investments that are associated or dossiers of securities in the name of Isabel dos Santos.