Evidence of Alleged Corruption Against Brazilian Sports Minister Piles Up

October 20, 2011

Brazilian Sports Minister Orlando Silva is feeling the heat after more evidence of alleged corruption emerged leaving him on the brink of losing his job.

Silva rushed back from the Pan American Games to his native Brazil earlier this week after allegations published in magazine Veja claimed that he aimed to embezzle as much as $23 million for himself and his communist party over eight years from a number of projects, including one that promotes sport for poor children.

But despite Silva’s emphatic denials of wrongdoing, his position is becoming increasingly precarious after the chief public prosecutor announced a formal inquiry into the issue and details emerged of sloppy bookkeeping and favouritism in the sports ministry’s contracts with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs).

Reports also suggest that 59 contracts signed by the Sports Ministry between 2006 and 2011, during which Silva has been in charge, did not comply with regulations.

This suggests that even if Silva is not directly linked to corruption, he may ultimately be held accountable for poor oversight due to the fact that it happened on his watch.

The Brazilian Sports Minister is continuing to protest his innocence as the investigation continues but the issue could have major repercussions on both the FIFA 2014 World Cup and Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games – which Brazil are hosting – due to the fact that Silva is the Government lead on both projects.

Silva has been involved in both global sporting events since their infancy after being named Sports Mnister by former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva back in 2006.

He is currently the only Minister from Brazil’s Communist Party that is part of President Dilma Rousseff’s Coalition Party and maintained his high-ranking position when Rousseff came to power at the beginning of the year largely due to his heavy involvement and knowledge of the 2014 and 2016 projects.

The 2014 organising committee has been criticised by FIFA regarding serious delays to construction but the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic preparations were praised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission who last visited the city in June this year.

The scandal around the Sports Minister however, is an unwanted problem for both projects and also another unwelcome scandal for the Cabinet of Rousseff as since she took over as President in January four ministers have resigned or been sacked after being accused of corruption all denying any wrongdoing.