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Brazil’s corruption clean-up

This week scores of employees holding brooms surrounded the building of the Comptroller General’s office (CGU) in Brazil, the former government office tasked with fighting corruption. They were protesting that the new incarnation of Brazil’s anti-corruption effort, the Ministry for Transparency, Monitoring and Control (MTMC) was itself tainted with corruption.

Hours later Fabiano Silveiro, the recently appointed head of the MTMC, had to step down. He had been caught on tape allegedly suggesting how the president of the Brazilian Senate should handle investigations into the ongoing Petrobras case, the biggest corruption scandal in Brazil.

Transparency International issued a statement calling for all ministers in the government tainted by corruption to be dismissed and it has suspended its cooperation with the MTMC until a new minister with appropriate credentials can be appointed.

Brazil needs an effective and unimpeachable anti-corruption programme to win back trust in politicians, a herculean task in itself. More than half of the 594 men and women that make up Brazil’s Congress face some kind of legal challenge, including corruption charges.

Brazil must come good on its promises to fight corruption. Those found guilty must be held to account. Too many scandals have engulfed both politicians and businesses and ordinary Brazilians are angry and disappointed. As Brazil tries to recover from a devastating economic crisis, corruption only adds to the burdens of the poor.”

José Ugaz, chair of Transparency International

Naming a strong head of the MTMC is only the start, but it will send an important signal. “The ministry needs a new Minister with appropriate moral qualifications and attitude in the fight against corruption,” said Ugaz.

Delivering open government commitments

Brazil was a founding member in 2011 of the Open Government Partnership. It committed to a high-level Open Government Declaration and a country action plan to be developed with public consultation.

This week 500 members from civil society and government will meet in Uruguay, Brazil’s southern neighbour, for a meeting of the Open Government Partnership Americas region. This includes five Transparency International chapters from the region. They will call on Brazil to make good on these commitments.

Brazilians have taken to the streets many times over the past two years demanding change. It is time for their leaders to deliver. It is time for a sweeping change.

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For any press inquiries please contact press@transparency.org

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