Brazil’s Attorney General Goes After Those Involved in Vote-Buying Scandal

Regarding the decision by Brazil’s Attorney-General of the Republic, Antônio Fernando de Souza, to bring charges before the Federal Supreme Court against 40 individuals supposedly involved in the vote-buying scheme known as the "mensalão" (big monthly allowance), the president of the Brazilian Senate, Renan Calheiros (PMDB party, Alagoas state), said that he accompanied "the entire investigative process" conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Investigatory Commission (CPMI) on the Post Office and "did all he could" to help the CPMI arrive at a conclusion.

"That is what the democratic process is. A CPI was conducted, and its result was issued," he observed, adding that it is hard to comment without being familiar with the arguments presented by the Attorney-General.

The president of the Chamber of Deputies, Aldo Rebelo (Brazil’s Communist Party – PCdoB, São Paulo), justified the decision on the grounds that the Public Defense Ministry (MP) has the authority to carry out its own investigations.

"The CPIs always furnish the MP with material for its own investigations. If he took this initiative, the matter is now in the hands of the Judiciary," he declared.

The Senate minority leader, José Jorge (PFL, Pernambuco) considered the decision "just." "The MP could not have done anything else. There are many proofs."

For his part, the leader of the PMDB in the Senate, Ney Suassuna (Paraí­ba state) was "surprised" by the news. "But I know that the MP has a basis in its own investigations. It has been investigating this matter for some time in conjunction with the Federal Police." According to Suassuna, the charges were "consistent with the list submitted by the CPMI on the Post Office."

Public Defense

The president of the Joint Parliamentary Investigatory Commission (CPMI) on the Post Office, Delcí­dio Amaral (PT, ), observed that the charges brought by the Federal Public Defense Ministry against 40 individuals allegedly involved in the vote-buying scheme known as the "mensalão," corroborates once again the accuracy and the rigor of the CPMI’s efforts. The CPMI’s final report, which was delivered to the Attorney-General of the Republic, proposes that more than 100 people be indicted.

The Attorney-General, Antônio Fernando de Souza, said that he submitted the charges to the Federal Supreme Court on March 30, but waited to announce the decision in order not to compromise the parallel investigations conducted by the CPMI.

Many of the charges submitted by the Public Defense Ministry coincide with those contained in the CPMI’s final report. For example, the Attorney-General names ex-minister José Dirceu, the ex-president of the PT, José Genoí­no, and the ex-treasurer of the PT, Delúbio Soares, as members of the Administration "who attempted to guarantee the PT’s project of remaining in power by purchasing the political support of other parties."

"Without any intention of causing a controversy, we of the CPMI arrived at practically the same results as the office of the Attorney-General of the Republic. For us this is very important, because it substantiates our efforts and reaffirms the importance of the CPI," Amaral declared.

Agência Brasil

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