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Brazilian Sports minister again on the limelight in spite of presidential support

Monday, October 24th 2011 - 06:38 UTC
Full article 7 comments
Communist party Orlando Silva has been minister since 2006  Communist party Orlando Silva has been minister since 2006

Brazilian media reported more corruption allegations against the country's embattled Sports Minister on Saturday, raising the pressure on him to quit a day after he received the backing of President Dilma Rousseff.

Accusations that Orlando Silva took up to 40 million Reais (23 million dollars) in kickbacks to benefit himself and his Communist Party have embarrassed the government and risk complicating Brazil's already-troubled preparations for the 2014 soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympics.

The Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper said on Saturday it had seen documents showing that Silva's wife received public money from a nongovernmental organization controlled by members of Silva's Communist Party. It said the documents showed that the NGO had contracted a firm owned by Silva's wife and paid her 43.500 Reais for research work.

Another newspaper, Folha de Sao Paulo, reported an evangelical pastor as saying he had been pressured by Sports ministry officials to pay a kickback of 10% to the Communist Party on a public project to provide sports for needy children. The pastor, David Castro, said the project had been halted because he refused to pay the bribe.

Previous allegations against Silva have mostly come from a disgruntled contractor arrested last year in an investigation into allegedly illegal fund-raising by the Communist Party.

Silva, who has been Sports minister since 2006 and is the government's point-man for coordinating investments and infrastructure upgrades for the mega sporting events, has vigorously proclaimed his innocence.

Silva met with Rousseff on Friday for more than an hour to defend himself from the allegations. Rousseff said in a statement that her government would not condemn anyone without proof.

If Rousseff were to withdraw her support, Silva would become the fifth minister to step down this year. Four of those ministers have left over allegations of wrongdoing as the new president takes a tough line against corruption and a shortage of funds fuels rivalries within her unruly coalition.

Silva's departure could further complicate Brazil's preparations to host the world's biggest sports events at a time when the construction of stadiums and transport infrastructure for the World Cup in particular is facing criticism for slow progress and ballooning costs.

The resignations do not appear to have harmed Rousseff, however -- she bounced to a 71 percent approval rating in a September opinion poll, apparently gaining support from middle-class voters for her perceived tougher stance against Brazil's endemic political corruption

 

Categories: Politics, Brazil.

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  • GeoffWard2

    “Rousseff said in a statement that her government would not condemn anyone without proof.”

    WELL WHY DOESN'T SHE GET THE BLOODY PROOF?
    EVERYBODY KNOWS IT EXISTS.
    THE MORE SHE VACILLATES, THE MORE SHE EXPOSES HER WEAKNESS.

    Oct 24th, 2011 - 02:19 pm 0
  • Fido Dido

    WELL WHY DOESN'T SHE GET THE BLOODY PROOF?

    Why would she go after it if it will be delivered by the media, if there is any proof. So far there isn't any proof, but just “words out of the mouth”. A real leader cannot go by that alone.

    EVERYBODY KNOWS IT EXISTS.

    That's what you think, but you don't know either. Your ideology makes you behave like a buffoon that screems something where you have no proof of. Show people the proof and you nail him.

    THE MORE SHE VACILLATES, THE MORE SHE EXPOSES HER WEAKNESS.

    The more you type, the more you show how what kind of ideological clown you are.

    Oct 24th, 2011 - 04:03 pm 0
  • GeoffWard2

    Thanks Fido, shouldn't shout; sorry.

    But the President has the right to test the proposition of guilt in her Minister of State.
    In fact she has the duty to test it because the man is a public servant.

    Equally, the accuser should be mandated to put up the proofs.
    Perhaps he HAS put up the proofs, and it is being translated into a judicial enquiry as we speak.
    I do not fear for his life because the degree of publicity would immediately put the Minister in the dock for murder if he 'disappeared' or appeared but dead. But we have seen a Sao Paulo State mayor killed because he refused to be part of the corrupt group of money grabbers, so real danger does exist for whistle-blowers.

    Dilma has an interestingly multi-dimensional problem in the sacking of HER ministers, etc.
    She must show the people her power to 'ride the guilty out of town', she must be even-handed between coalition partners, and she must show support for her team such that they will support her.
    Squaring these circles is a tough call.

    Oct 24th, 2011 - 09:08 pm 0
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