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One Third of Brazil’s House Members Have Been Condemned by Justice for 14 Different Crimes

Brazil's House of RepresentativesThe recently approved Transparency Law in Brazil has exposed that at least a third of the 594 Brazilian federal lawmakers have pending bills with criminal and administrative courts referred mainly to cases of corruption, which is expected to have an impact in the coming elections of next year when most of Congress will be renewed.

The ‘Clean record’ bill approved following the presentation of over a million signatures by the electorate, impedes members of the two houses with pending Justice sentencing to run for office. The bill is seen as a great filter to prevent allegedly corrupt candidates and hopefuls to run again for re-election.

With the bill, the over 80 million which make up the Brazilian electorate have a clear map for the 2014 elections of the current congress and its members, with a transparent list of Deputies and Senators which have been condemned either by criminal or administrative courts.

The ‘clean record’ map proves that criticism against political corruption during the long month of street protests in June, when millions demonstrated, were not unjustified. “They confirm a very negative evaluation of the current members of Congress” said Claudio Weber Abramo, head of Transparency International Brazil branch.

The map shows that 190 of the 594 Brazilian federal lawmakers, almost a third, have at some time been condemned for criminal or administrative charges.

Furthermore no party is absent from the list: PMDB, the largest with 101 members has 36 that have been sentenced, the ruling Workers Party of Lula da Silva with 100 lawmakers has 28, the PSDB, the main opposition force, 60 and 22, the PR, 43 and 14 and PSB, 29 and 12 sentenced. This includes fourteen active lawmakers with jail sentences, thirteen of them had the sentence changed for fines of community services.

The list of crimes of the 190 sentenced includes manslaughter, degrading practices, abuse of power, administrative illegalities, public monies abuse, illicit enrichment totaling a list of fourteen different crimes.

In the public opinion polls on performance and approval of the country’s main institutions, the Brazilian Congress has always invariably been bottom of the list, but with the new legislation, improved transparency will allow the electorate to have a better picture of those members who effectively are involved in community affairs and those solely concerned with their interests, according to Weber Abramo.

The 2014 elections will be the first in the country in which the electorate will have such information and a test also to caliber the degree of responsibility of voters and their rejection of corruption acts committed by elected officials. “Nobody will be able to allege ignorance when voting a corrupt politician”.

Private Sector

The Brazilian state development bank BNDES is “overbooked” and needs the private sector to step up funding in investments, according to bank president Luciano Coutinho. Lending by BNDES and other public banks has increased six times faster than credit by non-state bank this year, as the government tries to fuel economic growth.

Private lenders need to help finance investments in logistics, which will double in the coming years, Coutinho told investors in New York on Wednesday. His comments echo those of Finance Minister Guido Mantega, who also insisted the government wants private banks to take on a larger role.

“We need to offer support and share the burden because BNDES is already overbooked,” Coutinho said.

With gross debt of the second-largest emerging market rising, Mantega is courting private investment for the nation’s more than 200-billion-real (90 billion dollars) logistics program to open bottlenecks and boost growth.

Brazil doesn’t have the resources to fund the concessions Mantega said in a presentation in New York, adding that the country is counting on private banks to finance the projects.

Foreign investors will contribute 30% to 50% of infrastructure financing, and local banks’ participation give investors’ confidence, Mantega told reporters after his presentation. Industrial confidence as measured by the National Industry Confederation rebounded in August from a four-year low in July.

BNDES lending increased to 156 billion reais in 2012 from 51 billion in 2006 and is on track to reach as much as 190 billion reais this year, Coutinho anticipated last month. Lending in the year through July climbed 50% from the same period last year, the bank said in a statement reaching 102 billion reais.

The bank also revealed that 37% of that sum, 37.8 billion reais are credits to small and medium sized companies, a sector that has had quick access to credit compared to the 17% of the year 2000.

In the last twelve months loans to industry, mechanics, transport, food and beverage increased 47% over a year ago and for infrastructure, 45%. However agriculture, because of the record crop saw loans jump 76%.

Mercopress

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