Brazil’s new prosecutor general vows to continue anti-corruption drive

BRASILIA – The new prosecutor general tasked with leading Brazil’s anti-corruption drive was sworn in yesterday, and said she would continue her predecessor’s campaign against graft in Latin America’s biggest nation.

Raquel Dodge took over as head of the prosecutor-general’s office from Rodrigo Janot, during whose tenure investigators uncovered Brazil’s largest graft scheme, involving billions of dollars in political kickbacks in return for contracts at state-run companies.

In brief remarks at the prosecutor-general headquarters in capital, Brasilia, Dodge said that the Brazilian people expected her to carry on cleaning up corruption.

“The people maintain their hope for a better nation, they are interested in the nation’s destiny,” she said. “They are following the investigations and trials, they will not tolerate corruption and do not just wait on results, but demand them.”

As Janot’s four-year term as prosecutor-general drew to an end, Brazil’s entire body of federal prosecutors cast ballots for his replacement.

Dodge came second in the vote, but under Brazilian law the president has the final word in selecting the nominee. President Michel Temer chose Dodge, who was confirmed by the Senate two weeks later in July.

Her nomination was backed by the core team of federal prosecutors who have uncovered the worst of Brazil’s graft, which centered on state-run oil firm Petrobras.

Janot lodged three corruption charges against Temer. One, for allegedly taking bribes, was blocked by the lower house of Congress in early August. Under Brazilian law, a president can only be tried before the Supreme Court if two-thirds of federal deputies vote to allow it.

Last week, Janot filed two more charges against Temer, one for racketeering and the other for obstruction of justice.

The criminal charges filed against the president were based on the plea-bargain testimony of the owners of the world’s largest meatpacker, JBS SA. They accused Temer of taking bribes in return for political favors and of conspiring to buy the silence of a witness who could implicate him.

Temer has repeatedly said he was innocent and accused Janot of running a political witch hunt against him.

At Dodge’s swearing-in ceremony, Temer said that “supreme authority is not found in officials, but in the law.”—MercoPress