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Rocinha | Bribes Paid in Disappearance Case?

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Source: O Globo.

Military police major Edson Santos, former commander of the police pacification unit (UPP) in Rocinha, in Rio de Janerio, is suspected of diverting funds set aside for the standardization of motorcycle taxi service in the community in order to bribe witnesses who, in exchange for R$2,000 a month, would attribute the disappearance of assistant bricklayer Amarildo de Souza to the drug traffic.

The information emerged from a homicide division investigation into the disappearance of a local resident. The money comes from a company that sponsors community improvements in the area. 

Part of the sponsorship funds, R$ 30,000 per month, was allegedly used to corrupt two former Rocinha residents, for whom the major is said to have rented an apartment outside the shantytown.

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The mother and son, both interviewed by police, blamed remnants of the drug trade for the disappearance of Amarildo, then changed their story and entered a witness protection program. In more recent statements, they said they received R$ 2,000 from the PM officer, who for his part denies the charge.

The sum, according to witnesses, was paid by the major on a monthly basis to pay the rent and expenses of the mother and son. To sustain the scheme, the major supposedly stopped paying the subsidy for mototaxis. These resources should have been spent on standardization of pick-up points, the purchase of uniforms and maintenance. Mototaxis are the main mode of transportation  in the community.

The suspicion that the major was embezzling was reinforced by an analysis of the major’s financial transactions: his level of income was not commensurate with ability to pay these sums each month. The mother and son were not the only individuals corrupted by the scheme established by the major, who will be charged with active corruption ,… falsification of evidence and coercion of witnesses during the course of the investigation. After the witnesses gave affidavits to the homicide division, the major began to threaten them with death.

Faced with these threats, which are confirmed by affidavits, the homicide division and prosecutors are inclined to seek preventive imprisonment of the major and the troopers Douglas Roberto Vital Machado– “Monkey Face” — Jorge Luiz Gonçalves Coelho, Marlon Campos Reis and Victor Vinícius Pereira da Silva.

These were the troopers who brought Amarildo to the UPP on the night of July 14. Since then, the man has not been seen. As anticipated by O GLOBO last Saturday, at least five PMs will be indicted for kidnapping followed by death, torture, and concealing a cadaver.

Prosecutors following the case say the freeing of the PMs could make witnesses fearful during the trial.

Although at least three persons are in federal protective custody, they will be obliged to answer more questions as the case proceeds. In this scenario, fear of reprisals could lead to changes in witness statements.

The story corroborates information published by the Estado de S. Paulo on 13 September.