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BBC Brazil correspondent Stephen Cviic reports
on a corruption conviction for Sao Paulo's mayor
 real 28k

Friday, 17 March, 2000, 02:05 GMT
Brazil keeps it in the family
congress
Nepotism is common in Brazil's Congress
Brazilian deputies have thrown out a bill that would have outlawed nepotism in government and congress.

The proposed legislation aimed to curb the widespread practice among politicians of employing their relatives in well-paid positions.

It would have prevented officials in any branch of government from hiring members of their family, through blood or marriage.


"Relatives are human and defenceless creatures, not these monsters they're made out to be"

Deputy Gerson Peres
But the proposal fell 22 votes short of the 308 it needed to pass - and 153 legislators voted openly against it.

Inocencio de Oliveira, the veteran leader of the government-allied Liberal Front Party, called the idea an "aberration".

An informal survey by Chamber leaders showed that about 60% of the 513 legislators employed relatives.

inocencio
Inocencio de Oliveira: the bill was an "aberration"
"Relatives are human and defenceless creatures, not these monsters they're made out to be," deputy Gerson Peres said.

Mr Peres, who has two family members working in his office, has proposed creating a quota system to limit the number of relatives public officials may employ.

The decision shocked a minority coalition of congressmen, who had hoped to pass the popular measure ahead of October municipal elections.

"Hiring relatives is just like Roquefort cheese: it's tasty but it smells bad," said deputy Jose Roberto Battochio.

Sao Paulo scandal

In another development, a Brazilian court on Thursday found the mayor of Sao Paulo, the country's largest city, guilty of illegal use of public money.

The decision confirmed a ruling by a lower court that calls for Celso Pitta to leave office, bans him from political activities for eight years for misuse of funds and requires him to return the money.

He is appealing against the ruling.

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15 Mar 00 | Americas
Brazil reviews its cultural mix
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