Extreme Security Surrounds Brazil’s Ex-Chief of Staff Testimony on Vote-Buying

    The security section of Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies has made special arrangements for today’s testimony of ex-Presidential Chief of Staff, Minister José Dirceu, before the Chamber’s Council of Ethics and Parliamentary Decorum.

    With the exception of the legislators themselves, everyone attending the session will be searched and required to pass through metal detectors.


    Access to the Council’s meeting room will be limited to legislators, their immediate advisors, and reporters accredited by the Chamber. The only previous deposition surrounded by so many precautions was that of Deputy Roberto Jefferson (from Rio de Janeiro’s PTB), on June 14.


    This afternoon, beginning at 3 pm, the Ethics Council will hear Dirceu as a witness in the process brought by the Liberal Party (PL) against Jefferson.


    Dirceu (from the São Paulo PT), who reassumed his seat in the Chamber after resigning his Executive post, did not show up yesterday in the Chamber, preferring to spend the day at home in preparation for today’s session.


    In his testimony before the Ethics Council, Jefferson accused Dirceu of involvement in the alleged scheme of monthly “allowance” payments by the Workers’ Party (PT) to legislators from the PP and the PL in return for their support for measures proposed by the government.


    Jefferson confirmed to members of the Ethics Council that he will be present at Dirceu’s testimony, since he is the defendant in the process brought by the PL.


    The by-laws of the Ethics Council allow a defendant to attend sessions and make comments after the questions posed to the witnesses.


    Nevertheless, this is the first Council session since the process began that Jefferson, who is an attorney, will represent himself, instead of being represented by his lawyers.


    For Deputy Gustavo Fruet (PSDB-Paraná), who is a member of the Council, Dirceu’s testimony cannot contain half-truths. “It’s all or nothing,” he remarked.


    Fruet affirmed that the Ethics Council is eagerly awaiting the ex-Minister’s presence to provide information about the existence of the alleged monthly allowance scheme in the Chamber and the use of unreported campaign funds.


    The vice-leader of the PT in the Chamber, Deputy Maninha (Brasí­lia), said that the ex-Minister should supply all the necessary clarifications to the Ethics Council and the party’s bloc in the Chamber. “It is not by shirking the blame that he will save anyone else’s hide,” she argued.


    Agência Brasil

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