Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, speaking at the IV Global Forum on Corruption Combat in BrasÀlia yesterday, declared that there will be no coverup of corruption while he is in office.
“The responsibility that rests on my shoulders is greater than just preserving the country’s institutions… I have my own reputation, my moral patrimony, a personal history of decades of work defending ethics in politics. And that is why we are not going to cover up for anyone, no matter who he is.”
Lula continued: “If it is necessary we will cut to the bone to rid the government of corruption,” as he cited the firing of the board of directors in the country’s Post Office (Empresa Brasileira de Correios e Telégrafos) (ECT) and Brazil’s state-run reinsurance company (Brasil Resseguros) (IRB).
The President said the firings were an example of the seriousness with which the government was treating the problem.
“I have ordered my cabinet to find a definitive solution for the trouble at the ECT and the IRB. And that means that even though the directors have been fired, the investigation will continue,”said Lula.
The corruption scandal is being investigated by no less than three government agencies: the Federal Police (Brazil’s FBI), government prosecutors (Ministério Público) and the office of the Controller General (Controladoria Geral da União) .
“Although some people are trying to gain political-electoral advantage from the situation, my government will pursue the investigation to the end.
“This is in keeping with the constitutional oath I took when I became President. I am the main guardian of this country’s institutions, civil servant number one,” declared the president.
With regard to charges of corruption involving members of the government and the Congress, Lula said he was not opposed to the legislative branch running its own investigation.
“Congress cannot permit anyone to buy votes,” said Lula, in a specific reference to the charges that his own party, the PT, has been paying members of allied parties to vote with government.
President Lula went on to say that he did not have a silver bullet for corruption. “There is no panacea for these problems. They have been around for decades, probably for centuries.”
But he did add that one solution was a political reform supported by all sectors of the country. “That would ensure that Brazil’s public institutions would be strengthened,” said Lula.
In conclusion, Lula declared that his administration was working on long lasting improvements that would be around for many years.
“It is a good idea not to expect populist measures from me just because we are only a year and a half away from elections,” he said.