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Minas Gerais | Aécio Audited

Cidade Administrativa Presidente Tancredo Neves, named for illustrious grandfather of Minas Gerais governor

Cidade Administrativa Presidente Tancredo Neves, named for illustrious grandfather of Minas Gerais governor

Source: Blog da Cidadania.

From the carpal tunnel-impaired pages of one of Brazil’s more notable pro-situation journo bloggers, Edu Guimarães.

What is new is a counteroffensive by the ruling PT against the archrival PSDB in the central state of Minas Gerais.

Key Toucans are accused of schemes for which PT members have been investigated and in some cases jailed.

We await, for example, the adjudication of the case against former governor Eduardo Azevedo, in which accounting materials were discovered indicating systematic, laundered  payouts to political allies — the same scheme, with many of the same behind-the-scenes players, in which the PT found itself mired after 2003.

State lawmaker Durval Ângelo, leader of the PT benches in the Minas Gerais state legislature announced to the press last week that there was a state of “total corruption” in the PSDB state administrations starting in 2003, when Aécio Neves was elected governor.  Ângelo says that audits of previous Minas state governments are “unbelievable.”

Ângelo told the daily O Estado de São Paulo last Thursday that the irregularities involved the PSDB governments with the same contractors investigated by the federal police operation Car Wash.

To explore the irregularities in the two administrations, the newly elected Pimental (PT) administration “imported” from São Paulo the “sheriff” of mayor Fernando Haddad, Mario Spinelli, who took down a conspiracy of corrupt city inspectors that operated freely during the administrations of Serra and Kassab.

Informed of this development, the blog sought out Durval Ângelo, who provided more details about  the targets of the investigation and the steps to be taken by the Pimentel administration and the PT contingent in the state assembly.According to the PT lawmaker, the principal targets of the investigation by “Sheriff Spinelli” are (1) the construction of the Mineirão [stadium] — topic of a parliamentary inquiry (CPI) the PT plans to install shortly —  (2) the construction of the Cidade Administrativa by the Neves administration; (3) the construction of roads under concessions awarded to private initiative (i.e., the Car Wash defendants); (4) the payment of illicit sums to civil servants with ties to PSDB governments; and (5) irregularities in Copasa, the state sanitation company.

These are the principal targets of the audits to which the Neves and Anastasia are being subjected by Pimentel, but they are not the only ones. According to Ângelo, there are many other lines of investigation.

The PT leader says that Spinelli, the comptroller-general of Minas Gerais, already possesses “self-evident elements” of corruption in the two previous governments and that these elements will be made public in late March or early April.

Ângelo says that suspects lacking a privileged forum will be charged in a state lower court, even though the court is controlled by a prosecutor nominated by former governor Anastasia. The only figures with priveleged forum rights are the ex-governors, who therefore will be charged by the federal Attorney-General, Rodrigo Janot.

The accuser also says that during the Toucan administrations, state secretaries, for example, were denounced to the state prosecutor, but because of privileged forum, they can only be investigated by the state prosecutor himself, the investigations are making no progress, because the state attorney-general “is sitting on them”. But now that these civil servants no longer have a privileged forum, now that they have no place in the government, they can be tried by any prosecutor.

As for Aécio and Anastasia, both of them currently serving as Senaators, they can be investigated by the federal Public Ministry (prosecutor), even though only the chief state prosecutor can investigate them.

However, since alleged irregularities in the case ties it into the defendants of the Car Wash case, which is federal in scope, the indictment can be submitted to the federal prosecutor-general.

Questioned by the Blog about the reliability of the accusations, Durval Ângelo said there was powerful evidence. But because the case deals with the PSDB, he suspects that a fundamental element in such investigations, namely, the pressure of media coverage will be lacking, making the life of the defendants a little easier. But he assures us that Pimentel is doing all that he can do, under the circumstances.