Over the course of the past week, there has been a significant amount of global news related to corruption in various levels of government in multiple countries worldwide. With the impeachment proceedings against current Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff now taking center stage following the recent end of the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, greater light has been shed upon greater malpractice amongst the ranks of Brazilian lawmakers. According to the article “3 men in line for Brazilian Presidency accused of corruption” cited on BSA News Now on Thursday, September 1st, “Watchdog groups say about 60 percent of the 594 legislators in both chambers of Congress are being investigated for wrongdoing or are facing corruption charges, including the three men in line to replace Rousseff if she is removed from office” (Savarese, 2016).
The three men in line, Vice President Michel Temer, Speaker of the lower house of Congress Rodrigo Maia, and Senate President Renan Calheiros, each have several open investigations against them in regards to claims of corruption and alleged taking of substantial monetary bribes over the past several years. Temer was recently accused by a former Brazilian senator, Sergio Machado, of being a key contributor to a major corruption probe centered on Petrobas, the main government oil company of Brazil. The accusations state that Temer asked Machado to channel $400,000 in Petrobas funds to a 2012 mayoral candidate that was a member of Temer’s party. Additionally, another former Brazilian senator has accused Temer of “appointing a lobbyist to distribute bribes from 1997 to 2001 in ethanol deals involving Petrobras” (Savarese, 2016).
Second in line for the Presidency, Rodrigo Maia, is being investigated for his role as a key aide to a Brazilian governor who was convicted of being part of an “overpriced contracts” corruption scheme that involved several companies, through which Maia received illegal campaign donations. Renan Calheiros, who was third in line for the Presidency, was also involved in Temer’s Petrobas probe and is accused of receiving nearly $10 million in bribes over the course of 10 years.
As of Wednesday, August 31st, the Brazilian Senate voted 61-20 to dismiss Rousseff from her Presidential post, calling for Michel Temer to take the reigns for the remainder of her term, which runs until 2018. However, with the looming allegations against Temer and the other aforementioned individuals, the goal of clearing the way for a change of fortunes in Brazil is looking bleak.
Similar efforts are being made to eradicate corruption in judiciary practices, as well as in the media and ruling parties in both Tunisia and Egypt. Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed has announced that the new government that took office in Tunisia on Monday, August 29th has made the fight against corruption a priority. According to the article “Corruption ‘Epidemic’ in Tunisia: Anti-Graft Chief”, which was cited on BSA News Now on September 1st, after declaring their levels of corruption were in the “epidemic stage”, Tunisian officials estimated the “annual cost of corruption and poor governance in public contracts at two billion dinars”, or roughly 800 million euros (DailyMail, 2016). To combat this, Tunisian officials noted that significant strengthening of the law, especially in regards to assets and conflicts of interest is at the forefront of their efforts.
In other trending news, the Egyptian Minister of Supply, Khaled Hanafy, has resigned from his position as of August 25th following widespread criticism from members of parliament and the media after accusations of corruption emerged regarding wasting of public funds in excess of $56 million U.S. dollars (500 million Egyptian pounds) and wheat supply in the country. As reported in the article “What’s next for egypt’s corruption battle following minister’s resignation?” posted on BSA News Now on September 1st, “financial subsidies provided to wheat-producing farmers were allegedly stolen” and “quantities of wheat were falsely reported as being supplied” (Saied, 2016). These allegations traced back to Hanafy, who was accused both politically and legally of corruption and manipulation of the wheat system. As of September 1st, 13 individuals have been detained in regards to these matters, and Hanafy, who was deemed “politically responsible” for the corruption lost his job as a result.
Savarese Citation – globalradar.com/article/1Gp
Daily Mail Citation – globalradar.com/article/1Gn
Saied Citation – globalradar.com/article/1Gq