Brazil’s Lula Signs Bill Making Corruption Heinous Crime

Minister Hage and president Lula Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said this Wednesday, December 9, during a ceremony commemorating the International Day Against Corruption, that is necessary to encourage people to report acts of corruption and provide protection so that citizens feel safe to report them. He signed the bill, to be sent to Congress, which makes the practice of corruption a heinous crime.

For Lula, the country has to act against corruption as a person who always visits his doctor for regular physical exams. "Corruption is like a drug. Sometimes it's inside the house and people don't know. That's why we need to act as when we do a medical check up. We must be ever more efficient to control public money. The other way is the reporting process, people must be assured they will be protected," he said.

The president also said that fighting corruption is a hard task because the corrupt person almost always has an angel face. "I think the work we are doing is like a check up. The face of the corrupt is that of an angel's face, he is the one who most speaks out against corruption, who most denounces it, because he thinks he will not be caught, that somebody else will always be blamed for it. But once in a while, the trap gets the bird. And we owe it to the institutions we create."

Lula told reporters he intends to take to the G20 [group of 20 developing countries] the bill signed today. In his view, measures like this are difficult to be implemented because they attack mainly fraud in the financial system that causes millionaire losses to several countries.

"This law may not solve the problem, but if Congress approves it, maybe we can convey the idea that there is no impunity in the country. If we do not increase the punishment for these people, we will continue filling jails with poor people," he said. "It's very strong in people's minds the idea that the guy who steals a loaf of bread goes to jail and the one who still 1 million will not be arrested."

"These people do not want to enact such laws because they prey on those who have a bullet in the chamber (those who have resources), those who have coffee in the pot," compared Lula, alluding to crimes against the financial system or to those people who evade taxes.

The president also said he'd rather have the press publishing news on cases of corruption, so they can be investigated "instead of having no news and continue to be robbed."

ABr

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