Brazil’s Congress All Tied Up with Corruption Inquiries

Another Parliamentary Investigation Commission (CPI, Comissão Parlamentar de Inquérito) will begin work today in Brazil. It is to investigate a payoff scheme in Congress popularly known as the "mensalão" or "big monthly allowance."

The plan called for the PT to make monthly payments to members of other political parties so they would vote with the government. It is known as the Payoff CPI (CPI do mensalão).

The government and the opposition have not reached an agreement on how the commission should be run. The commission has two officials, a chairman and a redactor.

The government wants the chairman to be a senator from the PMDB, and the redactor a PT deputy. The opposition wants the posts to be occupied by a PT deputy and a senator from the PSDB or PFL.

Testimony

The Chamber of Deputies Ethics Council (Conselho de í‰tica e Decoro Parlamentar da Câmara) will hear testimony by Maria Christina Mendes Caldeira, the ex-wife of the leader of the PL party in the chamber, deputy Valdemar Costa Neto from São Paulo state.

She is a witness in the investigation of the conduct of deputy Roberto Jefferson, from Rio de Janeiro’s PTB. Jefferson went public with accusations against Costa Neto, and other congressmen and members of the government and the PT.

The congressman claimed that they were all involved in a huge payoff scheme that made monthly payments to some members of congress so they would vote with the government. As Jefferson has not presented proof to support his accusations, the council went into action.

PT Treasurer

Today the Post Office CPI which is investigating charges of corruption in the Post Office will hear testimony by the former treasurer of the PT, Delúbio Soares.

He has been accused of involvement in a payoff scheme in which the PT paid a monthly allowance to some members of Congress for their support of government bills.

Like the former PT secretary general, Sí­lvio Pereira, who testified yesterday, Soares has obtained a so-called preventive habeas corpus which will protect him from arrest and allow him to remain silent if his answers could be incriminating.

ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br

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