NIGERIA’S budget padding crisis could take a further twist after Brazil impeached its president Dilma Rousseff after the senate found her guilty of the same offence after a five-day trial and a lengthy overnight debate yesterday.
President Rousseff was removed from office yesterday after 61 of Brazil’s 81 senators voted to impeach her and swore-in former vice-president turned rival Michel Temer, 75, as president. In a separate vote senators decided not to ban President Rousseff from seeking public office for the next eight years.
Nigeria recently had a budget padding crisis of her own after legislators inflated figures presented to the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari. Brazil’s recent impeachment has given impetus to the investigation of the Nigerian debacle as yesterday the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, led by Professor Itse Sagay, said it has begun meeting on the documents submitted to it on the budget padding scandal by leaders of the House of Representatives.
Allies of President Rousseff have signalled that they would take the case to the Supreme Court despite the fact that several motions filed to the country’s highest court throughout the impeachment proceedings failed. President Rousseff herself took to Twitter a minutes after the decision, condemning it as a political witch-hunt.
She said: “Today is the day that 61 men, many of them charged and corrupt, threw 54m Brazilian votes in the garbage.” In addition, she said that the case was not expected to go any further as the charges were political, not criminal.
President Rousseff, from the leftist Workers’ Party, is accused of taking illegal state loans to patch budget holes in 2014, masking the country’s problems as it slid into its deepest recession in decades. She told the Senate that she was innocent, saying the impeachment trial amounted to a right-wing coup d’etat.
In addition, President Rousseff asserted that impeachment was the price she paid for refusing to quash a wide-ranging police investigation into the state oil company Petrobras, saying that corrupt politicians conspired to oust her to derail the investigation into billions in kickbacks at the oil giant. She said it was an irony of history that she would be judged for crimes she did not commit, by people accused of serious crimes.
Brazil’s Workers’ Party under President Rousseff and her predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, is credited with raising around 29m Brazilians out of poverty. With a new president in place, Brazil will now hold its next presidential elections in late 2008.
In Nigeria’s Professor Sagay’s committee has already met with former House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation chairman Hon Abdulmumin Jibrin, who handfed it some documents. Claiming he is innocent, Hon Jibrin has blamed the leadership of the House for the debacle.