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Scandal 47 | Dilma Delegates

I read it in the Estadão, and translate.

BRASÍLIA – President Dilma Rousseff has decided to fire the head of the Federal Presidency’s office in São Paulo, Rosemary Nóvoa de Noronha, who has been indicted by federal police for corruption and influence peddling. The second highest ranking official in the federal Attorney General’s office will also be let go.

The case apparently involves a Paraguayan over-the-counter market in favorable regulatory findings, such as those required to get cargo into the country via Santos, one of its principal ports.

Remind me to tell that well-worn story of mine about getting my books into the country using a Santos despachante.

In the meantime, this item from the white-collar police blotter sounds a lot like a familiar broken record — petty-ante crimes by permanent civil servants of the State used to leverage accusations of endemic corruption inside the Government.

The «big monthly payola» is another such case, as was a flurry of accusations against federal health secretary José Serra in the 1990s, whose by all accounts laudable ambulance program for small municipalities was marred by low-level crooks who were in fact sucking the lifeblood from the system.

Dilma will also fire Paulo Rodrigues Vieira, head of the national water agency (ANA) and his brother Rubens Rodrigues Vieira, head of  ANAC, the national civil aviation agency. The brothers are currently under arrest and face internal disciplinary actions … All civil servants indicted will be suspended or dismissed by the federal presidency. All of the regulatory agencies cited in the federal police’s Operation Safe Harbor — Porto Seguro — will face disciplinary proceedings …

The decision to suspend, fire and investigate civil servants was taken on Saturday at the presidential palace by Dilma and her chief of staff, Gilberto Carvalho. The president was extremely angered by the publicity generated by the case and by the blowback the federal executive will experience,

Taken together, these considerations explain the president’s hurry to suspend and fire suspects and conduct internal investigations, in order to show that the government is taking action and not standing in the way of the federal police.

Dilma wants to know the extent of these and similar cases in various government agencies. It is thought that the husband of Rose, who works at the federal airport authority, Infraero, will also be investigated. The federal attorney-general’s office has been transformed into something of a crisis control center to look into charges against the office’s No. 2 man, José Weber Holanda, whose hard drives and computers were also seized by the federal police.

Dilma is not fond of working out of her São Paulo office and only visits when it is absolutely necessary. She never cared for Rose, but left her in charge nevertheless at the request of Lula, her close friend. Since the story broke, Dilma has warned that no one will be exempt and that those who need investigating will be investigated.

Dilma was also angered by Rose’s behavior when federal police entered the office on Friday morning to serve warrants. “She threw a fit,” says one source close to the President, explaining that Rose was already in the office when police arrived. Witnesses say that she screamed at police and disrespected them. “I am going to call the President. You are not going to come in here,” she bellowed, then had security check with federal police to verify the warrant and the signature of the issuing judge. When she realized that the warrants were authentic and that Dilma had ordered her to cooperate, Rose began to negotiate what material would be taken from her office. Since there was not a lot of material at the site, a backup was made of the hard  drive’s contents and the feds carried off material they deemed essential.

The purpose of the operation is to dismantle a criminal conspiracy that has infiltrated a number of federal agencies in order to acquire technical findings favorable to private interests.

Accused of heading the scheme to sell technical findings, ANA director  Paulo Rodrigues Vieira was taken into custody after a two-hour interrogation by the feds.  The subject was arrested at his home at around 6:00 a.m. Friday …

His defense lawyers said they would need to look at the case file first before adopting a position.

The flash point:

The federal police probe began in March 2011 with whistleblower testimony by a functionary of the TCU — the Federal Accounting Tribunal — who told police he had been offered R$ 300,000 to prepare a technical report that would benefit a company in the shipping sector.

The PF says that suspects will be charged with bribe payment, bribe reception, criminal conspiracy, influence peddling, and forgery of an official document.

Brazil 247 refers to Holanda as “the right hand man of Adams” and to Adams as “a likely candidate for the vacancy on the Supreme Court.”

According to federal police official  Roberto Troncon, the regional superintendent for São Paulo, the civil servants under investigation are employees of ANAC, ANA, and ANTAQ — National Merchant Marine Agency — together with the SCU,  the TCU, the Attorney-General (AGU), and the minstry of education (MEC).

The  PF announced that it has indicted 18 subjects during the operation, which covered  São Paulo, Brasília and the São Paulo cities of Cruzeiro, Dracena and Santos.

The agency says the subjects under indictment include business owners, lawyers and civil servants.

The Estado de Minas is the only news organization to provide a thorough CV of the suspect Holanda.

Second in command of the AGU, José Weber Holanda Alves has already been removed from a top post, in August 2003. He returned to AGU leadership in late 2009 at the invitation of AG Luís Inácio Adams. The office of the presidential chief of staff, however — headed by Dilma at the time — vetoed the nomination, citing Weber’s history. Holanda was then hired as a private aide to Weber.

When Dilma quit the Casa Civil to run for president, Adams was finally able to hire his man Weber, in July  2010, as his second in comman. The nomination was approved by Dilma’s replacement, Erenice Guerra, who was removed two months later in the midst of corruption allegations.

When Weber was part of the federal attorney-general’s office, in July and August of 2003, the federal prosecutor, the federal police, the CGU and the TCU investigated his role in real estate transactions, service contracts and debt collection matters. He resigned under pressure.

In 2003, the TCU charged 13 former heads of the  INSS —  Weber among them — over irregularities in a contact signed with CETEAD  — the Educational Center for Management Technology — in Bahia, between 1998 and 2000.

After leaving the AGU, Weber was named chief counsel to the University of Brasilia, nominated by  José Dirceu, who headed the Casa Civil at the time.

The social network of Dirceu, recently found guilty of corruption by the Brazilian Supreme Court, will provide rich pickings for guilt by association campaigns, mark my words.

On the other hand, the Lula-Dilma strategy for coping with corruption scandals has gone over pretty well with the electorate — the «no matter who gets hurt» approach to corruption.

The heart of this defense is the notion that political opponents casting stones should unmix their own metaphors first.

Its drawback is that it creates instability and lack of continuity in the Cabinet, draining its work of energy and attention.