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The secretary of state’s portfolio includes a regulator that hired a woman.

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Ana Cristina Cheu, wife of the Secretary of State for Infrastructure, was hired as legal advisor to the Board of Directors of the Mobility and Transportation Authority, one of the regulators in the sector her husband controls. A month and a half before being hired, Minister Pedro Nuno Santos delegated all the skills thatlegally designated” regarding the Office of Mobility and Transportation in Hugo Mendez. Despite this, the regulator and the Ministry of Infrastructure, interviewed by Obozrevatel, do not see incompatibility by this link.

The Mobility and Transport Authority is responsible for the regulation of the rail and road sector, and its responsibilities range from assessing priorities in terms of infrastructure to overseeing, for example, concession contracts. That is: at some point, the Mobility and Transport Authority may have to criticize, make demands or resolve conflicts with the participation of the state itself, including companies under the tutelage of the ministry (such as CP or Infraestruturas de Portugal). In the event of a conflict between the regulator and the state, a situation could arise in which the Board of Directors of the Mobility and Transportation Authority would have to resort to the help of its legal adviser (Christina Cheu) to advise on a case against the government (in the person of her husband Hugo Mendez).

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing and Communal Services begins by denying legal incompatibility, replying to the Observer that “no any incompatibility in the light of the legal regime for the exercise of functions by persons holding political office and high public office, in accordance with Law no. 52/2019 of 31 July.” In the ethical sphere, the same official response substantiates that “with the beginning of the XXIII Constitutional Government, the Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Communal Services [Pedro Nuno Santos] direct management of CP – Comboios de Portugal, EPE and Infraestruturas de Portugal, SA.”

He also adds in the same answer that it is Pedro Nuno Santos who concentrates “competences for setting strategic directions and setting goals in relation to infrastructure and rail transport policy, without delegating these powers are not held by any of the secretaries of state.”

Source: Observador

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