Seven of the 61 pages comprising the preliminary, combined report submitted by Brazil’s joint parliamentary investigation commissions (CPMIs) into the Post Office and Vote Buying were devoted to an analysis of the alleged involvement of the ex-Chief of Staff, federal deputy José Dirceu, in the monthly payoff (“mensalão”) scheme.
The “mensalão” refers to the presumed monthly allowances paid to lawmakers from parties belonging to the Executive’s coalition base in the National Congress.
The reporters of the commissions, Osmar Serraglio (the Post Office) and Ibrahim Abi-Ackel (Vote Buying) underscored the accusations leveled against Dirceu by deputy Roberto Jefferson (PTB-RJ).
“Deputy José Dirceu, ex-Chief of Staff, was named by deputy Roberto Jefferson before this commission, as before the Ethics Council of the Chamber of Deputies and in interviews with the press, as the originator of the scheme known as the ‘mensalão,’ ” the report states.
The reporters transcribed Jefferson’s declarations that, as political coordinator and chief minister of Lula’s Administration, “deputy José Dirceu organized the scheme for making payments to deputies in exchange for votes in support of the government.”
In her testimony before the CPMI into the Post Office, Renilda Souza, wife of advertising executive, Marcos Valério de Souza, said that her husband participated in meetings with the then-minister José Dirceu, accompanied by directors of the Bank of Minas Gerais (BMG).
The reporters stressed the fact that she told the CPMI that Dirceu was aware of the loans taken by Marcos Valério to transfer money to the Workers’ Party (PT).
In the CPMI into Vote Buying, the ex-treasurer of the PTB, Emerson Palmieri, affirmed that the ex-minister was always consulted following meetings with leaders of the PT.
“Following all these conversations, there was always a call from Delúbio (Soares) or (José) Genoíno to deputy José Dirceu, and, after this contact, the leaders of the PT guaranteed that everything was okay with respect to the transfer of funds,” the report says.
The declaration made by the ex-president of the PTB about lawmakers’ switching parties was considered a “serious accusation” by the reporters.
“There is cooptation of deputies. Various deputies entered my own party as well with nominations made by José Dirceu to form my party’s base,” Jefferson said.
In his defense, Dirceu affirms that the accusations made by Roberto Jefferson “are bereft of proof and seriousness, indicating a mere attempt to deviate the course of the investigations that should be conducted by this CPMI.”
He also contends that all that exists are “suppositions” regarding his knowledge of the loans allegedly received by the PT and co-signed by Marcos Valério.