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Judge considers suspension “illegal” for publicly denouncing “irregularities”

Judge Agostinho Santos on Friday considered the suspension of his duties at the Supreme Court as “illegal”, determined by the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSMJ), for publicly denouncing “irregularities” in the competition for president of the CNE.

: César Magalhães/Novo Jornal
César Magalhães/Novo Jornal  

"That's why I'm absolutely sure that this suspension is illegal, because the statute of judicial magistrates is clear in saying that the processes must be initiated within 60 days of knowledge of the fact, but that was public, everyone was aware, it can't eight months later to come up with it," Agostinho Santos told Lusa.

For the magistrate, the CSMJ measure is, "in principle, doomed to forfeiture, which is an insurmountable nullity, that is, it is a nullity that can be invoked at any time and there is no return, as it is even null", he stressed.

The CSMJ suspended, on Thursday, Judge Agostinho Santos, from the exercise of his functions as advisor to the Supreme Court, for a period of 90 days, and with restrictions on access to the premises of the body.

According to a note quoted by the Angop news agency, the "preventive suspension", decided in the fourth ordinary session of the CSMJ permanent commission, has a disciplinary nature and occurs within the scope of the statute of magistrates.

The judicial magistrate explained to Lusa that the suspension of the CSMJ standing committee was based on the interview he gave, on March 25 to the "Camunda News" portal and the press conference on May 11, reiterating "irregularities" in the contest to fill the position of president of the National Electoral Commission (CNE).

"In my public interventions, I appealed again to the Constitutional Court to resolve the process that is underway in that instance and reaffirmed that it would not be good for the democratization of the country to continue "Manico" [Manuel Pereira da Silva] in the position of president of the CNE", he recalled.

"And when I received this note on the 10th of November, I was really astonished, because the initiation of this disciplinary process against me on the grounds that my interview and press conference indicated in abstract the violation of the principle of civility and discretion and I don't know what it is," he said.

The judge stressed that, "when someone is notified of committing an infraction, which indicates some illegality, the facts that allegedly violate legal principles must be said or pointed out".

"Hence I am sure this suspension is illegal," he insisted.

The magistrate also mentioned that, following this new disciplinary process, he will be heard on Monday by the member of the CSMJ, Carlos Cavuquila.

"And we will comply, I will answer, on Monday, the questions that are within my reach and then this one [the member] will have time to formulate or not an accusation", he noted.

Agostinho Santos, a candidate defeated in the contest for president of the National Electoral Commission (CNE) in 2020, has been complaining for two years about "irregularities" in the contest.

For the magistrate, who filed several cases with the CSMJ and the Constitutional Court, he was only defeated in the curricular contest because he had been "illegally withdrawn" 47 points, which to this day asks for restitution, by the CSMJ, the entity that organized the contest.

The counselor judge even asked, last May 11, during a press conference, for the intervention of the President in the case, arguing that the current president of the CNE, Manuel Pereira da Silva, was declared the winner in a contest riddled with "various vices".

The candidate appealed to João Lourenço to intervene, "so that justice is done, restoring to the applicant the 47 points that were illegally taken from him".

The contest promoted by the CSMJ, in 2019, was approved on January 25, 2020.

Judge Manuel Pereira da Silva was sworn in, by parliament, as president of the CNE, on 19 February 2020, amidst many protests by the opposition and civil society that accuse him of "lack of moral and legal suitability" for the position.

According to Agostinho Santos, the president of the Supreme Court and the CSMJ, Joel Leonardo, "lied" to the National Assembly and the President when he sent a letter of approval of the contest when he had already appealed the results.

Following his legal actions on the case, Agostinho Santos thus complies with the second suspension, since he has already been suspended from his activity for 180 days, with total loss of remuneration, and "prohibited" from accessing the premises of the Supreme Court and of the CSMJ, in Luanda.


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