(The Real Agenda) Even former president Lula da Silva will be investigated for peddling influence in favor of the construction company Odebrecht.
PORTO ALEGRE – Corruption in the government of Brazil is endemic, it is like a cancer that has metastasized all over the public and private sectors.
This analysis is not our opinion, but that of Brazilian prosecutor Athayde Ribeiro Costa, one of the leaders of the anti-corruption operation known as Lava Jato.
On Tuesday, Costa made public his understanding of how corruption is rooted in the Brazilian way of life as he announced the arrest of the former president of Brazil’s state Eletronuclear, Othon Luiz Pinheiro.
The Lava Jato operation is the one investigating investigating the huge fraud committed by public servants and private entities that laundered money from the public oil and gas company Petrobras.
The oil company that had been the object of pride for many Brazilians, lost more than 6.2 billion reais due to a massive corruption scheme that operated for ten years, although police estimated that deviations and inflated contracts may take the total amount defrauded from Petrobras to 19 billion reais.
Researchers believe that the president of Eletronuclear, who had already left the office after the first suspicions of corruption, received bribes worth 4.5 billion reais to rig contracts for companies that inflated the cost of public projects.
The contracts allegedly benefited companies that were already being investigation for fraudulent contracts with Petrobras.
Operation Radioactivity, as the police have called the sixteenth stage of the Lava Jato operation also ended with the arrest of Flavio David Barra, a senior executive at construction firm Andrade Gutierrez. The president of that company Otavio Azevedo, is already under arrest also in relation to the case of Petrobras.
The revelations of curruption at Eletronuclear were made by Avancini Dalton, president of the construction company Camargo Corrêa, another company under investigation in the Operation Lava Jato, who provided the police with evidence of suspicious payments in contracts for the construction of nuclear facilities in Rio de Janeiro.
According to Avancini, companies paid 1% of the value of a contract as bribes to those who facilitated the access to construction projects. The researchers see indications that the president of Eletronuclear received some of those bribes in December 2014, that is, months after dozens of executives of major construction companies were in prison.
The former director of Supply of Petrobras, Paulo Roberto Costa -one of the first to reach an agreement to bring proceedings in exchange for reductions in his sentence- had also previously accused private companies of forming cartels to act in other areas of Government such as electricity with state-owned Eletrobras, hydropower, ports and airports.
“We took a more careful look and saw that corruption is not restricted only to Petrobras,” said the prosecutor on Tuesday.
New corruption scandals seem to pop up in every state-owned institution of Brazil, with the current president of Congress, Eduardo Cunha being accused by another informer of demanding five million dollars in exchange for getting Petrobras to give preferential treatment to private companies.
This month it has been made public even former president Lula da Silva -in a separate case of Petrobras- will be investigated for peddling influence in favor of the construction company Odebrecht.
Corruption in Brazil is like the gift that keeps on giving. There is some of it under every rug you lift, under every corner you look. It is rampant everywhere you look; in the small business and in big business; in the private sector and the public sector.
The level of corruption in this country is a faithful reflection of society. No one likes corruption here and everyone seems shocked with every new discovery of fraud in government, but most people go about their lives looking for ways to take advantage of someone else, stepping on whoever they need to step in order to get where they want to go.
Simply put, corruption here is part of the DNA.
Luis R. Miranda is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief at The Real Agenda. His career spans over 18 years and almost every form of news media. His articles include subjects such as environmentalism, Agenda 21, climate change, geopolitics, globalisation, health, vaccines, food safety, corporate control of governments, immigration and banking cartels, among others. Luis has worked as a news reporter, on-air personality for Live and Live-to-tape news programs. He has also worked as a script writer, producer and co-producer on broadcast news. Read more about Luis.