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Posted by portugalpress on September 13, 2018

After initially saying that all the accusations were ‘sour grapes’, the mayor of fire-devastated Pedrógão Grande has finally admitted there may have been “one or two” cases where people received money to rebuild houses they didn’t live in.

The official term is “primary habitations” - and the accusations which have been flying since the start of the summer centre on at least €500,000 having potentially gone to ‘fraudsters’ (click here).

Mayor Valdemar Alves' admission followed the searching of town hall offices yesterday by PJ police.

But in customary style for those caught up in investigations in Portugal, he balanced his words by saying that he remains “tranquil” about the outcome.

The PJ inspectors “arrived at a good time”, Alves told journalists - and took with them when they went “documents, computers and mobile phones”, adds tabloid Correio da Manhã.

“It could be that there were some wrongful declarations made” (presumably on the part of those who benefitted from rebuilding funds), said Alves, but now he hopes everything ‘will finally be clarified’.

Indeed, he is “pondering” whether to set up an internal inquiry, he told journalists, to “confirm if there were any administrative irregularities on the part of the municipality”.

There certainly was not any “favoritism”, he stressed, although “there may have been some failing that I did not know about...”

The investigation covers over 260 homes rebuilt under the auspices of the business and privately-funded Revita Fund.

Revita - comprising over €4.4 million that came by way of donations after the fires that killed 66 people and destroyed over 500 homes - was supplemented with €2.5 million from the government. The fund’s technical commission is said to be looking into work that has been completed, as well as work that is still ongoing.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com

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