The Secretary of State for Civil Protection has resigned on personal grounds after being made a defendant in the investigation into the purchase of smoke-free collars.

The Minister of Home Affairs accepted Artur Neves’ resignation and passed the decision to the Prime Minister, the ministry said in a statement.

Also The president of the National Emergency and Civil Protection Authority, Mourato Nunes,  has been made a defendant, denying that he was involved in the case of smoke collars, in which he is accused.

In a note sent to the media sent by ANEPC, the Lieutenant General confirms, however, that on Wednesday morning he was made a defendant. The former GNR Gerneral Commander adds that he will continue to “actively collaborate with justice”, but will nevertheless “exercise all the rights that the said [defendant] statute confers on him, in his defence and in order to establish the truth”

The Ministry of Internal Administration, the Secretary of State for Civil Protection and the headquarters of the National Emergency Authority for Civil Protection (ANPC) were searched on 18th September by the National Anti-Corruption Unit (UNCC) of the Judicial Police, due to the purchase of 70 thousand flammable smoke collars, under the “Safe Village” program. José Artur Neves was made a defendant in this case.

In a note sent to the newsrooms by the Prime Minister’s office, it can be read that António Costa accepted the resignation request of the Secretary of State for Civil Protection. “On this occasion I would like to thank Artur Neves for the decisive contribution to the way in which the changes in Civil Protection operations took place and were implemented, especially in the implementation of the reform of the Integrated Rural Fire Management System, and his personal commitment was decisive in the results”.

According to the authorities, there are indications of negotiations between suppliers of prevention and sensitization material – such as the smoke collars, denounced by JN – and senior officials of Civil Protection and the State. The Secretary of State for Civil Protection, José Artur Neves, resigned after being searched at home and in his office, and was accused. It will not be the only one.

At stake are the Safe Village, Safe People and Automatic Population Notification programs, with subsidy fraud, economic participation in business and corruption suspected.