Brazil's Justice Min. Says Audit No Grounds for Impeachment

  • Government will file complaint against auditor ahead of case
  • Nardes shouldn't have expressed opinion prior to voting: Adams

The expected decision by Brazil’s audit court to reject the government’s 2014 accounting practices isn’t grounds for impeaching President Dilma Rousseff, Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said.

The government will file a complaint Monday against Augusto Nardes, the auditor responsible for the case in the court known as the TCU, and ask for his suspension, Cardozo told reporters in Brasilia. Rousseff’s opponents are using the case to promote reasons for impeachment while the accounts analysis should be technical only, he said.

The alleged violation of government accounting practices is one of the main arguments being used in calls to impeach Rousseff. Her popularity has plummeted with the onset of a recession, rising inflation and devaluation of the currency as the government is embroiled in a bribery and kickback scheme surrounding Petrobras, the state-owned oil company.

Nardes told other court members he plans to uphold a June decision that Rousseff’s accounting practices violate the nation’s fiscal responsibility law. Nardes denied having anticipated his position saying the court has voted twice on the matter on public hearings, he told O Globo newspaper.

Cardozo and Attorney General Luis Inacio Adams said Nardes shouldn’t have expressed his opinion on the case prior to a court vote scheduled for Wednesday.

Government Defense

The government’s defense, presented in response to the June decision, is that other administrations used the accounting practices in question. The TCU found the Treasury delayed 40 billion reais of payments to public banks for social programs.

“His opinion causes embarrassment to the court,” Adams said. “He violated rules.”

Rousseff this week signed a decree to place a legal limit on the amount and time that payments can be delayed to public banks.

The TCU also questioned decrees signed by Rousseff last year that created government expenses without the approval of Congress.

Most members of the TCU are appointed by Congress, and Adams has warned before against political influence on what should be a technical decision.

Congress will receive the recommendation from the TCU and have the final vote on whether to accept or reject the government’s accounts.

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