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Second Brazilian minister resigns over corruption

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2011-07-07

Brazil's Transport Minister Alfredo Nascimento stepped down on Wednesday following a kickbacks for contracts scandal. The minister was the second in President Dilma Roussef's (pictured) cabinet to resign in less than a month over corruption.

AFP - Brazil's transport minister stepped down Wednesday, dealing a fresh blow to left-leaning President Dilma Rousseff, who has now seen two cabinet members resign in less than a month due to graft.

Alfredo Nascimento submitted his resignation with "irrevocable" effect in a written statement after allegations of a large kickback scheme involving several members of his ministerial team surfaced at the weekend.

Nascimento, from the Party of the Republic, a minor member of Rousseff's coalition, said he wanted to help address "suspicions raised about the actions of the transport ministry" and asked prosecutors to launch an investigation.

Rousseff's administration was thrown into turmoil when her chief of staff, Antonio Palocci, resigned on June 7 over allegations of influence-peddling.

Palocci, a finance minister during the previous administration of Rousseff's popular predecessor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, reportedly amassed a huge fortune while serving in government and running a consulting firm.

The situation for Nascimento rapidly grew untenable after a weekly magazine reported at the weekend that officials in his office were demanding kickbacks from builders to win contracts, including major infrastructure deals.

Nascimento had already suspended four senior aides, including his chief of staff, and by late Tuesday he had ordered a 30-day suspension of all tenders under ministerial control.

Hours before he stepped down, O Globo newspaper reported that a company owned by a son of Nascimento saw its capital rise by a spectacular 86,000 percent in just two years.

Date created : 2011-07-07

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