understand the scandal of pastors and ‘parallel office’ at MEC

understand the scandal of pastors and ‘parallel office’ at MEC
understand the scandal of pastors and ‘parallel office’ at MEC

Bribe in gold, purchase of bibles and cash hidden in a tire. These are some of the elements of denunciations of a scheme revealed by the Estadão: O parallel cabinet. Pastors captured the agenda of the Ministry of Education (MEC) and demanded the release of funds. The case has already resulted in the fall and arrest of former minister Milton Ribeiro.

On Thursday, the 22nd, this story had another chapter revealed. To Estadão, businessman in the civil construction sector Ailson Souto da Trindade, candidate for state deputy for the PP in Pará, said that former education minister Milton Ribeiro gave the go-ahead for federal school works contracts to be negotiated in exchange for bribes to the pastors Gilmar Santos and Arilton Moura. The agreement provided that cash, according to Trindade, would be hidden in the wheel of a truck.

The businessman is the 12th person to report a corruption scheme in the folder. The complaint brings new elements to the investigation that is being processed under secrecy in the Federal Supreme Court (STF) for indications of interference by Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in the investigation against the former Minister of Education.

parallel cabinet

The group led by pastors Gilmar Silva dos Santos, president of the National Convention of Churches and Ministers of the Assemblies of God in Brazil, and Arilton Moura, advisor for Political Affairs at the entity, acted as a lobbyist for release and/or accelerate the commitment of resources to certain municipalities.

Usually, the allocation of funds to a city hall is a bureaucratic and time-consuming process. With the help of the pastors, however, certain municipalities managed to release of the commitment of resources in record time. In one of the cases, a city hall managed to commit part of the requested money only 16 days after the meeting mediated by the religious. It was only in December that terms of commitment were signed, a stage prior to the contract, between the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE) and nine municipalities, for R$105 million after meetings with the pastors.

Mayors of the Progressives, the PL and the Republicans had preference to get the help of the pastors. These subtitles are part of the hard core of Centrão. The party bloc is precisely what commands the FNDE.

In one of these events, a meeting of mayors with Milton Ribeiro in January of last year, at the MEC headquarters, Pastor Gilmar dos Santos detailed the role of the parallel cabinet and clearly explained his intentions: “We requested this meeting with the minister to bring to his knowledge several mayors who also work with the church”, he said, making it clear that he intends to privilege people linked to his religion.

In a recorded conversation, Milton Ribeiro admitted that he prioritizes service to mayors who arrive at the MEC through pastors Gilmar dos Santos and Arilton Moura. Speaking to municipal leaders within the ministry, Ribeiro said that he follows the order of President Jair Bolsonaro (PL). “It was a special request that the President of the Republic made to me on the issue of (pastor) Gilmar (Santos)”, he says – Arilton Moura and Gilmar Santos were present at the meeting. “My priority is to first serve the municipalities that need it most and, secondly, to serve all those who are friends of Pastor Gilmar”, he joked, in a recording released by the newspaper. Folha de S.Paulo.

bribe in gold

One of the pastors who control a parallel cabinet asked payments in cash and even gold in exchange for obtaining the release of funds for the construction of schools and day care centerssaid to Estadão the mayor of Luís Domingues (MA), Gilberto Braga (PSDB). According to the mayor, Arilton Moura requested R$ 15,000 in advance to file demands from the city hall and another kilo of gold after the funds were released.

“He (Arilton) said: ‘Bring me a kilo of gold’. I kept silent. I didn’t say yes or no”, said Braga, who says he did not accept the proposal.

Bible with photo by Ribeiro

Copies of a edition of the Bible with photographs of Ribeiro, Santos and Moura were distributed, in July last year, at an event organized by MEC in Salinópolis (PA), a city 220 kilometers from Belém. The print highlights the “sponsorship” of the mayor of Salinópolis, Carlos Alberto de Sena Filho, Kaká Sena, from the PL, which also had the image stamped between the back cover and the title page.

The Bible with the pages of the photos that promote the minister and the pastors Arilton and Gilmar Photo: Estadão

After the meeting, Minister Milton Ribeiro approved the construction of a school in Salinópolis. He signed a term of commitment with the city in the amount of R$ 5.8 million, of which he committed, at the end of December, R$ 200 thousand. Both the minister and the mayor did not comment on the distribution of Bibles.

Fall

Haunted by a series of allegations of involvement in a corruption scheme operated by pastors at the Ministry of Education, Minister Milton Ribeiro resigned from his position at the end of March. President Jair Bolsonaro, who had said he put “the face of fire” for the minister, accepted the resignation request after the Estadão reveal that in the MEC ceremony, Bibles were delivered with the minister’s photo printed.

Prison

After the disclosure of the schema by the Estadão, the Federal Public Ministry with the TCU requested the opening of an investigation into the case. Senator Alessandro Vieira (PSDB-SE) demanded that the MPF and the Attorney General’s Office open an investigation into Milton Ribeiro on suspicion of administrative impropriety and influence peddling.

In June, the Federal Police (PF) arrested the former minister. The operation that investigates the practice of influence peddling and corruption for the release of public resources from the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE) was baptized as ‘Acesso Pago’, it fulfilled, in all, five arrest orders, requested by the PF to the Justice. In addition to Ribeiro, pastors Gilmar Santos and Arilton Moura, who are at the center of the suspected scheme, were arrested.

When asking for the arrest of former minister Milton Ribeiro, the Federal Police cited a “criminal organization” that, according to investigators, “infiltrated” the Ministry of Education. Federal law enforcement officials described “layers of action” used to control the briefcase. According to the PF, the former minister would be responsible for “giving the prestige of the federal public administration to the work” of pastors Gilmar Santos and Arilton Moura.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: understand scandal pastors parallel office MEC

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