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Federal deputies form new investigative committee over Petrobras corruption case

Federal Deputies Hugo Motta, of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party (PMDB), and Luiz Sérgio, of the Workers’ Party (PT)—both of whom members of the government’s coalition—have been confirmed as rapporteur and chairman of the congressional committee created to probe into the illicit doings at state-controlled oil giant Petrobras. The announcement was made during the meeting which marked the beginning of the committee’s investigative work, held today (Feb 26).

Motta was elected with 22 votes out of 27, after facing Deputy Ivan Valente, of the Socialism and Freedom Party (PSOL), whose candidacy was independent. He garnered four ballots.

During the same session, Valente’s political party faced the rejection of their request to withdraw from the committee those politicians who received money for campaigning from construction firms under investigation by Federal Police-launched Operation Car Wash

According to PSOL head Chico Alencar, the companies in question are OAS,  Camargo Corrêa, Sanko, Engevix, Galvão Engenharia, Mendes Junior, UTC and Toyo Setal, whose executives have been arrested for taking part in a bribery scheme with Petrobras employees. In PSOL’s defense, Alencar quoted from the Code of Ethics and Parliamentary Decorum of the Chamber of Deputies, according to which no congressperson is allowed to be involved in a parliamentary matter if it is connected with a company if he/she has been sponsored by it.

PMDB’s chief representative in the Lower House Leonardo Picciani argues that politicians who who had their campaigning legally financed must not be criminalized. “It seems like an attempt to hinder the beginning of the committee’s investigation,” Picciani said.

The committee will be given 120  days to bring their investigation to an end. The deadline may be extended by 60 days upon decision of the congress members.

Translated by Fabrício Ferreira

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