’s top prosecutor has asked for embattled President Dilma Rousseff
to come under investigation for what he calls interference with the country’s most controversial ever graft investigation.
Prosecutor-General Rodrigo Janot on Tuesday called on the Supreme Court to open the investigation into Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras, which was formerly chaired by Rousseff.
Construction companies allegedly conspired with Petrobras executives to overcharge the oil giant as much as USD two billion, some of which was paid out as bribes to politicians and parties.
Janot is expanding the probe largely because of testimony from Senator Delcidio do Amaral, who has said both Rousseff and her predecessor and mentor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (seen below), knew about the scheme.
The president’s recent move to name Lula her chief of staff has contributed to the barrage of criticism against her. Rousseff’s opponents say she appointed Lula to the position in order to shield him from prosecution.
Rousseff’s impeachment is rooted in allegations that she fiddled the national accounts to hide the size of the deficit after her reelection in 2014. She has consistently maintained she has done no wrongdoing.
Rousseff risks suspension as early as next week in an impeachment bid over separate accusations that she doctored government accounts in 2014 so she could increase public spending as a means of wooing voters for re-election.
The leading newspaper O Globo claimed on Monday that it had obtained information from the vice president’s office that Rousseff is set to resign as president this Friday.
According to the report, she would also request the resignation of Michel Temer who is set to replace Rousseff and call for general elections to be held in October.
Temer is currently the vice president. He prepares to move the country rightward and has already begun to assemble a new cabinet.
There is much speculation in Brazil that some legislators have given their support to impeachment in exchange for protection from the massive Lava Jato.
Lava Jato or Car Wash is an anti-corruption probe centered on kickbacks involving the state-run oil company Petrobras.
Corruption allegations directly affect some of the most prominent promoters of Rousseff’s demise, including the unpopular president of the lower chamber, Eduardo Cunha.
Cunha, who has spearheaded the impeachment proceedings against Rousseff, is from the same party as her vice president, Temer.
Assuming Temer becomes president on or soon after May 11, Cunha would be his natural second in command.
Cunha faces multiple allegations of corruption, money laundering, and hiding the existence of Swiss bank accounts.
“Everyone knows that the president of the Chamber of Deputies has foreign bank accounts and has been investigated by the Attorney General of the Republic,” Rousseff said last week.
“I never received any bribes, I don’t have foreign bank accounts, and I have not been accused of corruption.”
Last December, Brazil’s attorney general, Rodrigo Janot, declared that his removal from the chamber was “necessary and imperative” in light of the accusations against him, and called on the supreme court to do it.
‘Victim of fraud’
The Brazilian president said Tuesday there can’t be a political trial against her without legal basis, otherwise it “would be a coup.”
Rousseff said that she was the victim of a fraud by the extreme right of her country to remove her from power.
“They want to come to power by an easy route and not through popular election for which we have fought,” said Rousseff during the inauguration of Family Agriculture Plan 2016.
“I’m being a victim of fraud because they are not able to come to power by democratic means, they seek to have a coup,” she said.
For her, the right wing wants to cut the road to democracy in Brazil with misplaced actions that threaten the peace and tranquility of a country.
“The right insists on making everyone believe that I’m paralyzing the country, but they are the ones seeking to destroy all the achievements of a social government,” she said.