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Dilma Rousseff sacks top officials involved in influence-peddling ring

Monday, November 26th 2012 - 06:46 UTC
Full article 9 comments
The The president is showing no contemplations with long established corruption in the Brazilian political system   The The president is showing no contemplations with long established corruption in the Brazilian political system

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff moved quickly and with no consideration for political allies ordered the dismissal on Saturday of all government officials allegedly involved in a bribery ring, including the country's deputy attorney general.

Federal police raided government offices in Brasilia and Sao Paulo on Friday and arrested six people for running an influence-peddling ring that sold government approvals to businessmen in return for bribes.

Among those under investigation is the former personal secretary of ex-president Lula da Silva, Rosemary de Noronha, who has headed the regional office of the presidency in Sao Paulo since 2005.

The bribery scandal erupted on the heels of Brazil's biggest political corruption trial that sentenced some of Lula da Silva's closest aides to prison terms for buying support in Congress for his minority Workers' Party government after taking office in 2003.

Rousseff, Lula da Silva's chosen successor, was not affected by the vote-buying scandal and she has built on his popularity by gaining a reputation for not tolerating corruption. But the ruling Workers' Party was rocked by the scandal which tarnished Lula da Silva's legacy even though he was not implicated.

The new corruption case could further hurt the standing of Lula da Silva, who remains Brazil's most influential politician.

Friday's arrests included two brothers who were recommended for positions in the federal government by Lula da Silva's former secretary Noronha, Paulo Rodrigues Vieira, director of the National Water Agency, and Rubens Carlos Vieira, director for airport infrastructure at Brazil's Civil Aviation Agency.

Police accused the brothers of recruiting second-tier government employees who would be open to bribery, while a third brother also under arrest, Marcelo Rodrigues Vieira, contacted businessmen willing to pay for false or speeded-up approvals.


Police have been investigating the bribery ring since 2010 when an official in the government accounting office who was offered 150.000 dollars for a favorable report got cold feet, returned the money he had been paid and blew the whistle.

Early on Friday, police seized computers and data from the Brasilia office of Deputy Attorney General Jose Weber de Holanda Alves, who has been dismissed and is under investigation along with a dozen other people, including a former senator.

The purge comes when a public opinion poll shows that President Rousseff has a greater vote intention for the 2014 presidential election than her predecessor and mentor, Lula da Silva.

The Ibope Institute poll shows Rousseff with a 26% support for her re-election in 2014, while the former president figures with 19% if he decides to run. The poll published in the Sunday edition of O Estado de Sao Paulo was based on 2002 ‘spontaneous’ interviews in 143 cities and towns between November 8 and 12. The seven point difference is greater than the error margin of the poll.

Ibope points out that besides the figures the poll showed that Dilma Rousseff has ceased to be seen as the 2010 option of Lula da Silva (since he could not run for a third consecutive period) and can try for re-election on her own merit because she is seen as a head of State with her own policies, personality and attitude.

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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  • Ayayay


    Nov 26th, 2012 - 08:16 am 0
  • ChrisR

    Absolutely the correct decision by Rousseff.

    It shows just how indoctrinated the masses are though with da Silva that he retains apparent mass support.

    But he was not involved, some say. OK, let's go with that, so why didn't he purge them himself?

    He didn't know about it others say. OH, really? He is incompetent then: how could he possible have NOT known if he was presiding over the country? Did he walk around the corridors of power with his eyes closed and his ears mufflled?

    No, it won't do whichever way his supporters want to play it.

    Rousseff is handling this in the way da Silva should have done.

    Nov 26th, 2012 - 01:36 pm 0
  • GeoffWard2

    Precisely so, Chris.
    He heard of no corruption, smelled no corrupt practices, and never saw corruption going on all around him. Somehow he - and his family members - became very rich. Impossibly rich, considering his declared incomes.
    One wonders how his government was able to emplace a country-wide web of organised corruption without him getting a whiff of it in his Corridors of Power and wherever he went throughout Brasil.

    Of couse he knew, of course he was implicated .... but like, Jimmy Saville, he was a national institution who could not be officially accused.

    Nov 26th, 2012 - 07:30 pm 0
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