Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Scandal in Government of Rio Grande do Norte

Fundação José Augusto is a foundation mantained by the State of Rio Grande do Norte with the purpose of supporting cultural events in the State. The support includes providing space for presentations (the Foundation has a mid-sized, comfortable theater in the district of Tirol), passing knowledge and expertize to smaller towns and, of course, providing financial assistance.

Last February, members of the Public Prosecution found strange the existance of many contracts (all public contracts must be published on the Public Gazette), without bidding, which supposedly should hire singers and bands for presentations in small cities of the State during Carnival.
Upon investigation, it was found out that most of the shows were not realized; some singers and bands were contacted, and denied to even know anything about the contracts.

Investigations revealed that an illegal scheme was being operated inside the Government. Shows and contracts were forged, but the funds were released; the documentation which should demonstrate that the shows were realized were also forged.
Latest report indicated that a total of R$ 1.2 million (nearly US$ 600,000) were stolen. The money was paid to a man called Fabiano César, who, supposedly, was the manager of all the singers; the Prosecutors are now investigating with whom Fabiano shared the money.

The more the invesgations continue, the higher in the State hierarchy they move.
The first version was that some middle-level managers of Fundação José Augusto would have forged the documents. A few days later, however, the signature of the President of the Foundation was found in official documents authorizing the contracts; the President resigned.
Later, it was revealed that Italo Gurge, Chief of Staff of the Governor Wilma de Farias, would be the mentor of the scheme; Italo would have used his powers to release the funds to FJA.
A few days ago, it was demonstrated that Governor Wilma de Farias signed herself papers authorizing the releasing of funds for FJA. Mrs. Farias alleges that she routinely signs authorizations for several other Secretaries (the law says that, above a certain level, all contracting must be allowed by the Governor), but can't thoroughly check out all of them.

Investigations will tell who is involved.

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