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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 September 2005, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
Brazil 'whistleblower' expelled
By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Sao Paulo

Expelled lawmaker Roberto Jefferson
Roberto Jefferson said he was proud of what he had done
The Brazilian lawmaker whose corruption allegations caused a deep political crisis has himself been expelled from the country's parliament.

Three months ago Roberto Jefferson told a newspaper that the governing Workers' Party had paid its political allies for their support in congress.

Substantial evidence has emerged to support the charge.

But Mr Jefferson was by his admission personally involved in the scheme and congress voted to end his mandate.

'Proud'

Supporters of Roberto Jefferson say he is a courageous whistleblower.

His opponents say he is corrupt and trying to drag others down with him.

Either way, he has triggered Brazil's biggest political crisis in more than a decade.

Much of what he originally alleged has proved true.

The governing Workers' Party did pay cash to some lawmakers who supported its coalition, using funds that were never declared to the electoral authorities.

The problem for Mr Jefferson was that he himself benefited, receiving $1.7m on behalf of his Brazilian Labour Party. That money has never been accounted for.

In a highly charged hearing, Mr Jefferson said he was proud of what he had done.

He accused the government of buying and selling lawmakers as if parliament was a brothel. But moments later, his own parliamentary career was over.

By 313 votes to 156, lawmakers voted to expel him from Congress.

Roberto Jefferson is now ineligible for public office until the year 2015.




SEE ALSO:
Embattled Lula vows more reforms
08 Sep 05 |  Americas
Brazil MPs face corruption claims
02 Sep 05 |  Americas
Brazil rally urges Lula to resign
18 Aug 05 |  Americas
Brazilians rally to support Lula
16 Aug 05 |  Americas
Scandal-hit Lula calls for trust
13 Aug 05 |  Americas
Q&A: Brazil corruption claims
12 Jul 05 |  Americas


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