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March 23, 2015

Brazil president announces anti-corruption measures

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Stan Lehman
The Associated Press
Via ajc.com 

SAO PAULO — President Dilma Rousseff announced a series of anti-graft measures on Wednesday in the wake of Sunday's massive nationwide rallies calling for her impeachment and protesting rampant corruption in Latin America's largest country.

"We have the duty and obligation to fight impunity and corruption," Rousseff said a nationally broadcast speech.

Rousseff announced the measures the same day a poll showed that her approval rating had plummeted to a new low. The survey by the Datafolha polling institute showed that the president's popularity dropped even among Brazil's poorest, where her support has been always been strong.

Among the measures Rousseff announced were the criminalization of slush funds used to finance election campaigns, the seizure of assets of people found guilty of corruption, and the requirement that government officials have no record of crimes.

"This is a decisive step to expand the government's capacity and power to prevent and combat corruption and impunity," Rousseff said.

Sunday's protest marches were sparked by anger over a sprawling corruption case involving Petrobras, Brazil's state-owned oil company.

Federal prosecutors say they've uncovered Brazil's biggest graft case yet in a kickback scheme at Petrobras, with at least $800 million in bribes paid by construction and engineering firms to politically appointed former executives at the oil company, all in exchange for winning inflated contracts.

Investigators say some of the money was funneled back to the campaign coffers of the Workers' Party and its allies. Dozens of congress members and some former executive branch officials, including two former chiefs of staff to Rousseff, are under investigation.

Full article: ajc.com




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