Budget manoeuvrs led to Brazil impeachment | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Budget manoeuvrs led to Brazil impeachment

Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff attends the opening of the National Conference of Women, in Brasilia, Brazil, Tuesday, May 10, 2016. The impeachment proceedings against Rousseff took another hairpin turn Tuesday after the acting speaker of Congress' lower house Waldir Maranhao put the impeachment process back on track a day after he sparked chaos and sowed further discord among Brazil's fractious political class by annulling an April 17 vote by the Chamber of Deputies for impeachment. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
May 12, 2016 - 9:32 AM

The impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff is based on accusations that her administration illegally used unauthorized loans from state-owned banks: The banks would disburse money for programs, but the government delayed paying them back. Critics say that was meant to make public finances look better than they were. Rousseff insists the practice is not an impeachable offence and says other Brazilian presidents used similar techniques without facing punishment.

Here is a look at the allegations and how they compare to previous administrations.

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MONEY SHUFFLING: The fact-checking website Aos Fatos counted incidents involving funds from state-run bank Caixa Economica Federal. It says Rousseff used the practice vastly more often than did the two previous presidents, Fernando Henrique Cardoso and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Allegations against Rousseff also include funds from state-run banks BNDES and Banco do Brasil. The case against her covers only 2015, the first year of her second term, because Brazil's constitution says a president can be impeached only for crimes in the current term.

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DILMA ROUSSEFF: In 2011-2015, Rousseff's administration delayed payments to Caixa totalling almost $10 billion. The funds were eventually paid, but Brazil's fiscal laws say state banks should not make loans to the federal government without congressional authorization. Rousseff denies those were loans. The funds went for unemployment benefits, bonuses to public workers and subsidies for poor Brazilians. The delays stopped after a government watchdog ruled in October 2015 that the accounting mechanisms used by Rousseff were irregular.

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VICE PRESIDENT MICHEL TEMER: Rousseff backers say the case against Rousseff could affect Temer, who is temporarily replacing the suspended leader. As acting president when Rousseff was on trips outside Brazil, he authorized such accounting measures. Temer argues he was not responsible for the economic policies and says his signature doesn't mean any involvement in the decision to delay payments.

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LUIZ INACIO LULA DA SILVA: Silva, who was Rousseff's mentor and predecessor, used similar accounting practices in September and November 2003 and in November 2006, shortly after his re-election. The amounts involved totalled $144 million. The funds were for unemployment benefits and subsidies for the poor.

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FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO: Now an opposition leader, Cardoso issued similar decrees while president to delay payments to Caixa four times involving unemployment benefits. The first was in September 1996 and three more came in 2002, totalling $125 million at current values.

News from © The Associated Press, 2016
The Associated Press

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