Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Brazil's cracking-down on corruption

Brazilian authorities have arrested more than 30 tourism industry officials and businessmen, including Deputy Tourism Minister Frederico Silva da Costa, in connection to charges of conspiracy to divert public money for private gain. The allegations have been denied by the accused.

It is believed that as many as 200 police officers took part in the seizure. Costa is the third high-ranking official caught up in corruption allegations since President Dilma Rousseff took-up office on 1st January.

Reports says, that prosecutors suspect the accused had awarded contracts at very high prices to complicit firms that often were not qualified to carry out the work. According to Brazilian media, warrants were issued for 38 people 35 of whom were apprehended by Tuesday 9th August in Brasilia, Sao Paulo and Macapa.

The arrests follow recent allegations of corruption at the ministries of agriculture and transport. It is believed that Brazilian prosecutors have seized a number of computers at the agriculture ministry on Monday 8th August. Subsequently, Agriculture Minister Wagner Rossi has been asked to appear before an ethics commission. Rossi is a member of the Democratic Movement Party of Brazil (PMDB), Rousseff's largest ally in Congress.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, WSJ

For more news and expert analysis about Brazil, please see Brazil Focus.

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