Snub for Vieira on day of honours

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 June, 2000, 12:00am

Macau's last governor, General Vasco Rocha Vieira, will not be decorated on Portuguese National Day tomorrow in a move widely seen as a snub because of his controversial role in the transfer of $50 million before the handover.

A member of Portuguese President Jorge Sampaio's office staff was quoted by Lusa news agency as saying that 'no one proposed' that the ex-governor be decorated by Mr Sampaio.

A total of 28 citizens will be decorated by Mr Sampaio at a ceremony in Portugal. However, the respected Lisbon daily Publico said yesterday that General Vieira would not be among them.

General Vieira has been embroiled in a bitter war of words over the transfer of $50 million from a publicly funded Macau charity to the private Lisbon-based Jorge Alvares Foundation, which he headed until recently.

Political commentators in Portugal said if not for the controversy General Vieira would 'definitely' have been decorated.

According to an independent inquiry commissioned by the Macau Government this year, General Vieira ordered the transfer without any public announcement just days before the handover to the mainland on December 19. Leaked details of the inquiry revealed that it found the transaction was illegal.

General Vieira has resigned as president of the foundation but continues to be one of its trustees. He has been given the cold shoulder by Portugal's socialist Government and the President. Mr Sampaio has said the foundation is a 'private initiative' of General Vieira that is unrelated to Portugal.