Portuguese Prime Minister Steps Down Amid Corruption Probe

Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa tendered his resignation, on Tuesday, due to his involvement in a corruption probe related to the awarding of energy contracts.

‘The duties of prime minister are not compatible with any suspicion of my integrity,’ Costa told a press conference after briefly speaking with President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa earlier on Tuesday.

‘In these circumstances, I have presented my resignation to the president of the Republic,’ he added.

Reports from Portuguese media earlier on Tuesday revealed that investigators had carried out searches at both government ministries and the offices of Prime Minister Costa.

Later, public prosecutors revealed that they had brought charges against Infrastructure Minister Joao Galamba and had issued an arrest warrant for the Chief of Staff of Prime Minister Costa.

The investigation covers alleged “misuse of funds, active and passive corruption by political figures, and influence peddling,” according to a statement from public prosecutors.

According to the statement, an additional investigation is in progress, specifically examining Prime Minister Costa’s alleged personal intervention to hasten the contract proceedings.

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The investigation includes a wide spectrum of elements, including lithium mining concessions in the northern part of the nation, a hydrogen production project, and a data center project to be undertaken by Start Campus in Sines, a town located roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of Lisbon.

Arrest warrants for the mayor of Sines and two executives from Start Campus were justified by concerns regarding their potential flight risk and the continuation of illegal activities, as per the statement.

Furthermore, the President of the Executive Board of the Portuguese Agency for the Protection of the Environment (APA) is among those indicted.In May, APA greenlit a lithium mining project, which plays a fundamental role in the manufacture of electric batteries.

In May, APA greenlit a lithium mining project, which plays a fundamental role in the manufacture of electric batteries.

In early September, a second project was approved, despite facing opposition from environmental groups and a section of the local populace.

Portugal is home to Europe’s most extensive lithium reserves and stands as the primary producer on the continent. However, its current lithium production is exclusively dedicated to the ceramic and glass industries.

Prime Minister Costa, a member of Portugal’s Socialist Party, has been in office since late 2015 and secured re-election in January 2022. However, his popularity has decreased in the wake of several scandals involving the national airline, TAP.

Africa Today News, New York

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