Corruption scandal in Lula´s government
July 2005 Update.
In 2004, the opposition parties collected the number of signatures of Senators necessary to start a Probing Comission.
The tactic of the government was to not appoint their representatives in the Comission. The Opposition pressured the then President of Senate, José Sarney (a Government ally), to appoint those members. Sarney said that he didn´t have express powers to do so, and the Comission was never installed.
The Opposition filed an injunction before the Supreme Court, alleging that the rights of the minority (creating an Investigatory Comission) were being attacked. Only in June of 2005 did the Supreme Court decided: it is the obligation of the President of the Senate to appoint members of a Probing Comission, in case the Parties refuse to do it. In July of 2005, the Probing Comission was created.
This came in a very bad time to the Government.
Recently, a scandal of much greater proportions was revealed. Deputy Roberto Jefferson accuses members of the Government and of the Worker´s Party of creating a corruption net aimed at collecting "contributions" from State companies and their contractors.
Roberto Jefferson accused, among others, now ex-Minister José Dirceu of being involved with the corruption scheme. The opposition says that José Dirceu acted to stop a Probing Comission on Waldomiro Diniz, because Dirceu himself would be the leader of the scheme. Read more about it at the blog.
Now, the Comission is going to investigate the affair.
Waldomiro Diniz, sub-chief for Parliament Affairs, subordinated to powerful Chief of Staff Jose Dirceu, was caught on tape negotiating bribings and contributions to election campaigns, published Epoca magazine on the issue of Feb.16th 2004.
The tape was recorded in 2002, during the presidential campaign which conducted Lula to the Presidency. Mr. Diniz, on the tape, asks for contributions on behalf of a few candidates, including the then favorites to Rio de Janeiro, Rosinha Garotinho and Benedita da Silva (both with connections to the Workers Party), and also a personal bribing; Garotinho and da Silva deny any relationship with the episodes.
At the time, Mr. Diniz was director of the Lottery sector of Rio de Janeiro, and the contributions would be in exchange for some contract privileges regarding on-line and over the phone lotteries. The contributor was a explorer of "bingos" (restricted casinos which should work in cooperation with sports groups) and "jogo do bicho" (an illegal kind of lottery based on animals, popular among Brazilian lower classes).
As soon as the report was published, Mr. Diniz was dismissed from his functions. Even though he was not formally affiliated to Workers Party, he was close friend to some important members of the Party, and has been colaborating for years with leftist parties.
A few days late - The oposition tried to start a Probe Comission to investigate the episode, but Workers Party (PT) used their influence to avoid it. According to opositors, " PT adopt practices (avoiding investigatory comissions) that it so much criticized before being in power."
Feb. 28th - In response to the episode, President Lula issued a Provisional Measure closing all the "bingos" in Brazil. The measure is an attempt to show that the government has no connections with the bingos sector, and any act of mr. Diniz was of his own initiative.
A few months later: the Congress rejected the Provisional Measure, and bingos are again legal in Brazil. The Congress considered that the Measure didn´t satisfy the requirements of relevancy and urgency predicted by the Constitution. It is a consensus that the majority of the Provisional Measures fail to treat about relevant and urgent matters, but most are approved anyway; the rejection of this one indicates that it was nothing but a diversionist tactic.
Read the report at Epoca about the
Waldomiro Diniz affair.
Also: Forbes talks about the scandal.
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