Wednesday, April 12, 2006

 

Prosecutor General indictes 40 people

For nearly a year now, Brazil has been watching a sequence of denounces against members of the Government and of the Parliament. By means of a process called "mensalão", the government would be using the administrative structure to collect illegal money and pay Deputies in exchange of votes.

When the first denounces appeared, the indignation of the population obliged President Lula to fire Minister José Dirceu, charged of leading the scheme, and also obliged Parliament to impeach a few Deputies, including Roberto Jefferson, the man who first spoke about the scheme.
However, many members of the government, including President Lula and José Dirceu, always denied the charges, claiming they were being unfairly charged by the "elites".

Three parallel lines of investigation were opened:
1)The Comission of Ethics of the Federal Chamber examined the accusations against all Deputies. In the beginning, three Deputies were impeached, and a few others resigned to avoid impeachment. However, as the indignation settled down, the Parliament became also more lenient: all Deputies who were judged by their peers recently were found not guilty.
2) Chamber and Senate created joint Probing Comissions. The Probing Comissions dont't have the power to condemn anyone; instead, they prepare a report which is sent to the General Prosecution.
A few weeks ago, one such report reaffirmed that there was a corruption scheme within the government, with the participation of important members of the Worker's Party, including José Dirceu, José Genoíno (ex-President of the Party), Delúbio Soares (ex-treasurer), Silvio Pereira (ex-secretary).
As usual, Government and PT denied the charges, again arguing that everything was only political manoeuver.
3) Criminal investigation. The body in charge of investigations denounces of crimes practiced by high authorities is the Procuradoria Geral da Republica (General Prosecutor of the Republic).

The Prosecutors worked in silence, behind the curtains. They have powers to lift bank, phone and tax secrecies. They can use the Federal Police to follow leads. They heard many people.

Yesterday, the General Prosecutor presented his first report.
He indicted 40 people, charged with several crimes, including corruption, laundering money, criminal administration.
Among the indicted, José Dirceu, José Genoíno, Luiz Gushiken, Roberto Jefferson, many other Deputies (including those who were found non guilty by their peers), Duda Mendonça and others.

Most previous charges were confirmed; new charges were added. The difference is that the charging now comes from an independent party. There is no more room for allegations of political biasing.

Read the full libel containing the names of all 40 indicted and all criminal charges: 40 indicted by corruption in Brazil.
Read also Bloomberg.

The case now will be examined by the Supreme Court.



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