In a joint interview with Agência Lusa and the newspaper Expresso, João Lourenço addresses the suspicions surrounding the advisor judge and rejects comparisons with the former president of the Court of Auditors, Exalgina Gambôa, who presented her resignation from the position, after the chief executive invited her to leave and being constituted defendant, on suspicion of corruption.
In the case of Joel Leonardo, allegedly involved in acts of corruption, nepotism and mismanagement of the institution, and whose removal has been requested by sectors of civil society, opposition and more recently by the Bar Association, the President does not find reasons for his exit.
"Not keeping Joel Leonardo based on what grounds? What is going on with Joel Leonardo is that an officer who worked in his office, that one, is truly accountable to justice", says João Lourenço, stressing that so far nothing proves that these responsibilities are linked to Joel Leonardo.
"That is, the conclusion was not reached that what he would have done would have been under the guidance of his hierarchical superior. When people are older and vaccinated, they are responsible for their actions and he is paying for it, he remains in custody, investigations continue and let's see how it goes", he declares.
For the President, that is the reason why he does not change, "at least for now", Joel Leonardo, adding that if he has fundamentals, "certainly" he will "change".
Regarding the request by the Bar Association, which, at its last general meeting, urged the President of the Republic, as the nation's highest magistrate, to invite Joel Leonardo to present his letter of resignation, while the investigation processes are ongoing, he says he is unaware of the basis of this request.
"There has to be grounds, if there are grounds, let them send it and we'll analyze it", he assured.
Joel Leonardo has seen his name associated with suspicions of selling sentences, mismanagement and nepotism, accusations that the magistrate denies.
Asked about keeping Joel Leonardo in office, contrary to what happened with Exalgina Gambôa, the chief executive underlines that "each case is different" and adds: "Each one is responsible for their action".