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Brazilian institutions and society must act to save democracy and the fight against corruption

The extremely serious revelations made by former Justice Minister, Sergio Moro, need to be investigated

Issued by Transparency International in Brazil

This Friday, Brazil suffered a serious institutional setback in its fight against corruption and yet another terrifying authoritarian move against its democratic regime.

The former Lava Jato judge and Minister of Justice, Sergio Moro, submitted his resignation in protest against the decision of the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, to replace the chief of the Brazilian Federal Police. Political interference in national oversight institutions has been a consistent problem during the Bolsonaro government. This undermines the hard-won independence of these bodies, which has allowed for recent advances in the country’s fight against corruption. In a government marked by the corrosion of the democratic system, this new attack on national institutions is not an isolated act. Now, with revelations by former minister Moro that the President of the Republic is seeking to control the federal police force to obtain intelligence and obstruct investigations – and with who knows what other intentions – the threats Brazil faces under its current government have reached an unprecedented level. Society and institutions must react firmly to contain the abuses of this government. Otherwise, the country might not only return to the historical prevalence of impunity, but might also have its democracy shattered.

In its 2019 Annual Review and a report addressed to international organizations, Transparency International Brazil exposed the setbacks to Brazilian legal and institutional anti-corruption frameworks that took place last year, as well as attacks on the press and civil society.

Brazil must not tolerate another authoritarian advance and must respond to these threats, which become more audacious every day.

The Federal Police, its members and class associations, must resist, within the framework of the law, any political attempt to interfere in its leadership.

The Prosecutor General's Office and the Supreme Court must investigate the crimes of fraud, failure to perform duties, coercion, obstruction of justice and corruption possibly committed by the President of the Republic.

Congress must deliberate on the alleged crimes committed by the President of the Republic and, if confirmed, enforce the rule of law.

Brazilian society should follow with the utmost attention and rigorously demand that the rule of law, institutions and democratic values prevail in the country.

Contrary to what the President of the Republic said in a speech to the nation, the "source of corruption" was not exhausted in his mandate. On the contrary, the progressive deterioration of legal and institutional frameworks promoted by his government has weakened the country's capacity to tackle the problem. This reality was reflected in the latest edition of Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index (CPI), in which Brazil achieved its worst position in the entire history of the ranking: 106th out of 180 countries and territories, with 35 points (on a scale of 0 to 100).

Here, as elsewhere in the world, Transparency International draws attention to the authoritarian trap in tackling corruption. This is a struggle that is not won with heroes, but with strong institutions and guarantees and freedoms to citizens. We will continue our fight in the name of what it most fundamentally represents: a fight for rights.

André Dayan
+55 11 3817-7895
[email protected]

Gislene Rosa
+55 11 3817-7919
[email protected]

Jorge Valério
+55 11 3817-8002
[email protected]

About TI Brazil – Transparency International is a global movement with the same purpose: to build a world in which governments, companies and people's daily lives are free from corruption. We work in Brazil to support and mobilize local groups to fight corruption, produce knowledge, raise awareness and commit companies and governments to the best global practices of transparency and integrity, among other activities. The international presence of TI allows us to defend initiatives and legislation against corruption and for governments and companies to effectively submit to them. Our network also stimulates collaboration and innovation, which gives us privileged conditions to develop and test new anticorruption solutions.