Brazilian congressman Aldo Rebelo from the Communist Party of Brazil (PC do B) is Brazil’s new Sports Minister replacing Orlando Silva also from PC do B, who resigned on Wednesday after accusations that he was involved in an embezzlement scheme in the ministry. The choice was praised by the opposition, who called Rebelo a honest and fair politician.
“I accepted the invitation, and the transition process will still have to start”, said Rebelo. The new minister told reporters that the president requested that he commit himself to take care of matters related to the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics to be hosted by Brazil.
“The orientation is to try to guide the ministry with the challenges that are ahead for the country and the ministry – the World Cup, Olympics and all related tasks not only with the programs of the ministry, but also with these international events that will be hosted byBrazil,” he said.
Asked about the relationship we have with the International Federation of Soccer (FIFA) and the Brazilian Soccer Confederation (CBF), he replied that in the meeting, the president “did not go into the details of the ministry.”
With the announcement, on Tuesday, October 25, by Supreme Court associate justice, Carmen Lucia, that the court would examine charges made by the office of the government’s chief prosecutor against the minister of Sports, Orlando Silva, the position of the minister was no longer sustainable and he ended up resigning yesterday afternoon during a meeting with president Dilma Rousseff.
Silva is a member of the Communist Party of Brazil, a political party that has been a longtime ally of PT campaigns and administrations (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and Dilma Rousseff), and normal procedure would be for the party to nominate a substitute.
Orlando Silva is the sixth minister to leave the Dilma Rousseff government since June, the fifth charged with corruption. Two weeks ago a military policeman, João Dias Ferreira, accused the minister of embezzling public funds from a government program, Second Half (Segundo Tempo) that provided poor, at-risk children with sports equipment and activities after school in order to keep them off the streets.
The accusations of embezzlement from the Second Half program also include Silva’s predecessor as minister of Sports, Agnelo Queiroz, now the governor of the Federal District (Brasilia). Justice Carmen Lucia ordered the case against Agnelo Queiroz removed from the federal appeals court (“STJ”) and sent to the Supreme Court. According to the government’s chief prosecutor, Roberto Gurgel, there is an “intense relation” in the cases against Silva and Queiroz.
Following the meeting with president Dilma Rousseff, Orlando Silva told journalists that his five years as minister of Sports “…could not be tossed into a garbage can.” He declared that he was innocent of the charges of misappropriation of public funds and would prove it.
Orlando Silva is the sixth minister to step down this year and the fifth to be forced out over ethics breaches that have become a major headache for Rousseff in her first year in office, though the resignations have bolstered her reputation as a no-nonsense manager who is tough on corruption.
Silva had strenuously denied a stream of allegations against him in the media, including that he arranged up to 40 million reais (23 million dollars) in kickbacks from government contracts to benefit himself and the Communist Party of Brazil, which is part of Rousseff’s government.
Only last Friday, Rousseff said she was backing Silva to continue in his post after hearing his explanations in a meeting at the presidential palace.