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The Archbishop and the Paraguayan Marlboro Man


Source: Brasilianas.Org.

Topic: Dom Odilo Scherer is chairman of the board of an NGO accused of misapropriating R$ 47.5 mi

The case is a colorful one even by local standards.

Part of the money misappropriated from a job training program was sunk into cheap Chinese goods for sale at the 25 de Março — above — the gray-market downtown bazaar where contraband is king. and Bolivians defy “the train of death” to save on their Xmas shopping.

The non-governmental organization CEAT — Center for Services to the Worker — is the target of federal police investigations into the diversion of funds from contracts with the Ministry of Labor and Employment.

The organization, which  has units in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasília, diverted funds destined for the creation and maintenance of employment and worker qualification centers for the citizens of São Paulo and Rio. Eight persons have been arrested for involvement in the case, among them the Catholic priest Lício de Araújo Vale, who is close to Dom Scherer.

247 – CEAT — Center for Services to the Worker — an NGO targeted for investigation by the federal police after diverting R$ 47.5 million in contracts with the federal ministry of labor and employment, has Dom Odilo Pedro Scherer, archbishop of São Paulo,  as a member of its advisory board.

With units in São Paulo, Rio and Brasília, the ONG diverted funds earmarked for the creation and maintenance of employment and job qualification centers in Rio and São Paulo.

A federal police (PF) investigation titled Pronto-Emprego — Get A Job Fast, with a pun on the term pronto socorro (first aid, the emergency room)  — began in January and discovered the misappropriation of funds and the laundering of  money from the budget allocation approved by the federal ministry.

More, there is decisive evidence that hirings of employees were directed, contracts were not fulfilled, donations were fictitious and receipts for services rendered were fraudulent: services were never rendered.

Seven members of the ONG and an aide from the ministry of labor were arrested and will be accused of four crimes: corruption, criminal conspiracy, money laundering, and misappropriation of public funds. The sum of the sentences on all these charge could be as high as 37 years.

According to the PF, Gleide Santos Costa, an aide in the Secretariat of Public Policy — a division of the labor ministry – caused additives and accords to be signed that enabled contractual additives to be  signed with CEAT, even though this was against the law and contrary to internal technical standards. The Folha says that after meeting with CEAT management on Monday, the aide was arrested in flagrante in a São Paulo hotel, with R$30,000  that the police suspect was a bribe. Costa allegedly counted on an aide to Ivana Lúcia Zillig de Paiva, who was looking for “technical maneuvers” to legitimate the contractual additives, according to a judicial decision that authorized the transaction.

According to the dispatch dated August 27, 2013, “the aides enjoyed the support of the secretary of public policy of the ministry, Antônio Sérgio Alves Vidigal, who was shown to have a very close relationship with Lício de Araújo Vale”, a Catholic priest and director of CEAT. With this close ties to Dom Scherer, he is pointed to as the intermediary between the NGO’s interests  and this division of the Labor Ministry.

The budget allocations obtained from these additives and accords were repassed to CEAT and were supposed to be invested in public job and vocational training units.

Instead, the money was diverted with the help of shell corporations managed by the executives of the NGO CEAT.

Part of the money was used to import Chineses goods for sale in the open-air bazaar between 25th of March Street and Santa Ifigénia — the realm of the all-powerful Law Kin Chong.

CEO of the NGO, Jorgette Maria de Oliveira — once affiliated with the PDT political party — Father Vale, and another five CEAT directors were arrested.

Cars and the money in the bank accounts of suspects were seized by the court. The seven are being accused of corruption, misappropriation of public funds and criminal conspiracy.

According to CEAT, the NGO was set up to promote social inclusion through work, offer occupational training, obtain unemployment insurance and issue working papers.  “CEAT helps to qualify the candidate for the job, which is our main priority  … There is a possible job, but the worker is not qualified. At the moment Brazil is like a train, with many seats available. We need to help people embark on the train of history,” said Dom Odilo Scherer, in 2010, as he opened another unit of the NGO.