The corrupt and crime-riddled Senate committee calls into question how credible it is to rule on the impeachment process against Rousseff.
Over half of the 21-members of the Brazilian senate committee set to vote Friday on whether to recommend President Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment face charges for corruption and other crimes, according to data from Transparencia Brasil analyzed by teleSUR.
The committee is expected to give the green light to continue the much maligned impeachment process against Rousseff, paving the way for Vice President Michel Temer, of the opposing Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, to take over as president.
Five of the senators in the committee are involved in the Petrobras state oil corruption probe known as Operation Car Wash that has been at the center of the country’s fraud scandals for the past two years.
A handful of others senators have also been accused of crimes aside from corruption.
teleSUR highlights some of the committee’s worst members.
Simone Tebet, the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party senator of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, is the daughter of the former governor and Senator Ramez Tebet. She previously served as mayor for the municipality of Tres Lagoas. A June 2015 investigation accused Tebet of diverting public resources in favor of a fraudulent contractor after a bidding process for a building contract while she was mayor of Três Lagoas. She is yet to face charges.
Antonio Anastasia, the senator for the state of Minas Gerais for the Brazilian Social Democracy Party, made the recommendation for a Senate trial of Rousseff in a 126-page report he presented to the 21-member commission on Thursday. Despite his insistence of Rousseff’s guilt, Anastasia himself has faced serious corruption allegations in the Car Wash scandal engulfing Brazil’s state run oil company Petrobras. He has yet to be formally charged in the high-profile bribery debacle.
The amount of criminal investigations Santa Catarina senator and PMDB member Dario Berger has faced raise serious questions as to why he was selected as a committee member investigating Rousseff’s alleged tampering of fiscal data. Berger was fined for several financial irregularities in the construction of the expressway in the city San Jose, where he was mayor until 2004. Berger, when mayor of San Jose, also gave South Stage Events LTDA a contract to build a giant Christmas tree in the city center without a due bidding process amid cries of corruption. As a result, Secretary of Tourism Mario Cavallazzi for San Jose had to resign. The list of criminal investigations Berger is involved in is too long to mention in this article.
Cassio Cunha Lima
Cassio Cunha Lima (no relation of Eduardo Cunha, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil) is the senator of the northern state of Paraíba. However, like his namesake he has been involved in a number of corruption investigations. He has been fined on numerous occasions for abuse of political and economic power while governor of the Paraiba and in 2012 was investigated for crimes of tax evasion.
Fernando Bezerra and Gladson Cameli
Fernando Bezerra and Gladson Cameli, senators for Pernambuco and Acre, were both invoked in the Petrobras bribery scandal that rocked Brazilian politics late last year. Bezerra, of Brazilian Socialist Party, war arrested and had his house searched by Federal Police after he was accused of corruption and money laundering. He is yet to be tried in court. Cameli of the Progressive party, like Bezerra, has yet to be formally charged for a bribery allegation.
The corruption and crime-riddled Senate committee mirrors the legal challenges plaguing the Senate at large, where 37 of the body’s 65 officials face charges for corruption or other serious crimes, according to research published by the Los Angeles Times.