The entity that manages Portugal’s emergency communications system, SIRESP, is to appeal a ruling from the country’s Court of Auditors (TdC) refusing to permit an addition to its contract.
“Having been notified by the Court of Auditors of the refusal of the permit to the addition to the SIRESP contract, the managing entity will appeal the ruling,” the ministries of Finance and Internal Administration said in a joint statement released on Wednesday.
The Court of Auditors (TdC) refused to allow the changes to the contract that the government has with the company that manages SIRESP, and which envisaged €15.65 million in investment.
The ruling in the case, which concerned an addition that was approved by the government at a cabinet meeting on 5 April, and which is aimed at improving the communications network, was published on the TdC’s website on Wednesday.
The changes were made after failings that emerged in SIRESP operations during forest fires last year, and called for major additional investment over four years.
In their statement, the ministries recall that the contract change followed a series of recommendations and conclusions of expert reports on the fires of June 2017 in central Portugal that pinpointed major failures of SIRESP. It underscored the urgency of the changes and “the underlying public interest” in explaining the reasons for appealing.
At the beginning of August, Altice Portugal announced that it had exercised its right of preference to purchase the stakes in SIRESP of Esegur and Datacomp, totalling 21.55% of its share capital – bringing Altice’s stake to 52.1%.
The state, meanwhile, bought a 33% stake from Galilei, so falling short of its stated goal of securing a majority stake in SIRESP and prompting a volley of criticism of the Socialist government from the political left and right.
SIRESP operates the National Emergency and Security Network, resulting from a public-private partnership set up by the Ministry of Internal Administration with the mission of designing, creating, building, managing and maintaining this network.