Allegations of serious corruption against Brazilian President Michel Temer risk ruining the country’s recent reputation for making tough decisions to stop corruption, anti-corruption group Transparency International said today.
Brazilian President Michel Temer has denied today’s allegations that he condoned bribing a possible witness in a corruption case. Influential lawmakers and several members of Temer's cabinet have been named in the Lava Jato investigation.
“With allegations as serious as these, President Michel Temer should consider resigning out of respect to the extraordinary efforts and recent achievements of Brazil’s historical fight against corruption,” said Transparency International Chair José Ugaz. The question is whether Michel Temer and his supporters – including Senator Aécio Neves, also caught up in the investigations - are the people to be leading Brazil in its historical fight against corruption – when the recordings show that they may have been powerful obstacles to it.
Today’s revelations reaffirm the severity of Brazil’s corruption problem and how deeply ingrained graft, witness-tampering and other illegal activities have contaminated the political system.
Still, Brazil’s strong anti-corruption institutions and the commitment in Brazil to combat corruption at the highest levels have withstood serious tests, strengthening the country. The historic Lava Jato case has changed the image of Brazil of a country marked by corruption scandals to one that is facing the problem head-on.
However, from its beginning, Michel Temer’s government has shown a weak hand in efforts to fight corruption. He has completed one year in office without any relevant proposals to tackle the systemic causes of corruption in the country, and also shown little concern for even minimal ethical standards, nominating and maintaining in key positions people tainted by serious allegations of corruption or under formal investigation.
Despite receiving the support of over two million Brazilians, the 10 Measures against Corruption - legislative reforms to enhance the capacity of public administrators to prevent and detect corruption, and law enforcers to investigate, prosecute and sanction it - were not passed by the Brazilian Congress. Now is the time for such urgent reforms. Transparency International is engaged with Brazilian civil society to renew and intensify this important process.
As the Lava Jato investigations have made clear, Brazil must address the roots of its systemic corruption with ambitious reforms that yield greater political accountability. The Brazilian people must also continue to stand up to the powerful forces who perpetuate corruption and prevent its investigation in their country.
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