Brazil corruption scandal dismisses senior officials


Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff delivers a speech during the launching of PRONACAMPO -- a Federal Government program to improve education policies in rural areas where the illiteracy rate is high, at Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on March 20, 2012.



SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff has dismissed a number of senior officials accused of involvement in the country's latest corruption scandal.

Among those fired on Saturday were Rosemary de Noronha, who has headed São Paulo's regional office of the presidency since 2005 and who was former-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's personal secretary, and Deputy Attorney General José Weber Holanda, reported BBC News. They are accused of influence peddling, fraud and corruption, and have yet to comment.

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According to Reuters, federal police raids on government offices in Brasília and São Paulo on Friday led to the arrest of six people, including Noronha and Holanda. They had all allegedly sold government approvals to businessmen in return for bribes.

The bribery scandal came to light just after Brazil's biggest political corruption trial came to an end, which sentenced some of Lula's closest aides to prison for buying Congress support for his Workers' Party government.

The investigation into the country's latest corruption scheme was launched in March after a public official told authorities he was offered 300,000 reais ($145,000) to release a positive technical report for a business group, reported EFE. The employee initially accepted the bribe and received a third of the total payment in advance, but later repented and reported the bribe to police.