Municipalities, new target in anti-corruption fight
Pedro Luiz Rodrigues
The Federal Police and the Public Prosecutor’s Office reinforced investigations over municipalities, seeking to identify mayors, high-level officials and city council members that are involved in corruption schemes such as those recently dismantled in the cities of Porto Seguro, Eunapolis and Santa Cruz Cabralia in the state of Bahia.
Allegations being investigated suggest that corruption is widespread in Brazil’s interior, even reaching small and poor municipalities, where there is rarely an independent press and where institutional control and verification structures are sometimes extremely poor.
The National Association of Municipal Attorneys (ANPM) fully supports these investigations, and its president, Carlos Mourao, recently declared that “the harvest of mayors who took office in 2017 does not seem to have understood the impacts of Operation Lava-Jato on public administration.
Mourao said recently to Veja magazine that: “municipalities are less vigilant than the states and the federal government. Many of them not even charge taxes. I have seen cases, as in Ferraz de Vasconcelos (Sao Paulo), in which the mayor distributed exemptions by dispatch. ”
True fortunes, transferred each year by the Union and states to municipalities, are sometimes dissipated opaquely . These are constitutional transfers through funds such as FPM ( Municipalities Participation Fund), Fundeb (Basic Education) and transfers of the Tax on Rural Territorial Property (ITR).
In parallel to the repressive actions , the government develops an orientation effort on the correct application of federal public resources, through programs conducted by the Ministry of Transparency, Inspection and Controllership-General of the Union (CGU). These are regionalized events that bring together mayors to clarify initiatives to improve management, combat corruption and encourage transparency.
The program includes topics such as: supervision in municipalities, budget, bidding and contracts, accountability, ombudsman, public transparency, Anti-Corruption Law and the performance of internal control in Public Administration.