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Monday, 27 March, 2000, 18:52 GMT
Brazilian mayor back at work
Sao Paulo
Celso Pitta is back at work as Sao Paulo's mayor
The mayor of Sao Paulo arrived back at work early on Monday just two days after a judge ordered him to step down to face corruption charges.

Fireworks were lit and hundreds of people cheered as Celso Pitta, who has not appeared in public since Friday's court ruling, walked into City Hall. Mr Pitta, 56, held his fingers up in a victory sign but did not stop to talk to supporters.

Lawyers for Sao Paulo's first black mayor managed to get him reinstated on Sunday after a judge overturned the ruling saying it brought too great a "climate of insecurity" to the city's 10 million residents.

But the legal battle is far from over. The current decision could be overturned as investigators continue their enquiries.

Wife's accusation

Mr Pitta, who was elected in 1996, was ordered to leave his post after public prosecutors filed a petition alleging that he had accepted illegal loans from a businessman, totalling $465,000.

The Sao Paulo mayor has been embroiled in controversy since his estranged wife, Nicea accused him of massive corruption on national television two weeks ago.

She alleged he had blocked a parliamentary investigation into a "tax inspector mafia" that she said netted more than $850,000 for its members.

Mr Pitta's son has also testified to police this week against his father, who has been beset by financial troubles during his time in office.

The Brazilian Bar Association has filed a censure motion against the mayor, which Sao Paulo's City Council is to vote on this week.

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27 Mar 00 | Americas
Brazil mayor reinstated
24 Mar 00 | Americas
Brazil mayor told to resign
17 Mar 00 | Americas
Brazil keeps it in the family
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