Brazil: Corruption accusation hits Lula rival

Paulo Pereira da Silva, the number two chosen by Ciro Gomes, currently in second place in the Presidential race in Brazil, has been accused of various counts of corruption and misuse of public funds, some from his own union.

Paulo Pereira da Silva is being investigated after accusations that he issued false invoices for one million Reais (some 300,000 USD) and used public funds to buy himself a farm, then lied about his personal assets.

Paulo Pereira da Silva is the “Vice” (number two) chosen by ex-governor of Ceara, Ciro Gomes, who is running for the Presidency under the banner of the “Frente Trabalhista” (Workers’ Front), a coalition of three parties (PPS, PTB, PDT).Ciro Gomes is currently running second in the voting intentions for next October’s election, behind Lula but some analysts claim that if Lula and Ciro Gomes were to go into a second round, Ciro would win.

Next Friday, Paulo Pereira da Silva will face an inquest led by the Attorney General Celio Vieira da Silva, into his real wealth. Mr. Pereira da Silva always claimed that his only asset was the house he lived in but there are witnesses who state that he has another property in the name of another person.

He is also suspected of having misused union funds, exchanging workers’ historic rights for cash commissions. The political grouping Forca Trabalhista, which he represents, has been responsible for pushing through legislation which allows hundreds of industries not to pay social charges as part of a salary readjustment scheme.

For the last four elections, Lula has been in front only to fall at the last hurdle, to a political elite which stubbornly refuses to address the issues which affect the daily lives of the people. Lula intends to address these issues and to redress the imbalances in Brazilian society.

The question is, whether the financial community, whose strings are pulled in Washington, will allow the Brazilian people to have the leader who has their interests in his heart.