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Impeachment: Former minister restates Rousseff's acts were legal

Nelson Barbosa said the enactment of supplementary credit decrees have

Published in 27/08/2016 - 14:32

By Karine Melo reports from Agência Brasil Brasília

Brasília - O ex-ministro Nelson Barbosa presta depoimento durante o terceiro dia da sessão de julgamento do impeachment da presidenta afastada Dilma Rousseff, no Senado Federal (Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil)

Former Finance Minister Nelson BarbosaMarcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil

Former Finance Minister Nelson Barbosa said the enactment of supplementary credit decrees has followed the same protocol for over ten years. Barbosa made the statement in his testimony Saturday (Aug. 27) as a defense witness in suspended President Dilma Rousseff's impeachment trial.

In the first hour of hearings at the Senate, Barbosa added that decrees are penned by “experienced public officials” and bring more freedom to the administration of funds when budget is limited.

Barbosa noted that 32 such transactions were carried out in 2009, all of which fully approved by the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU).

The presence of Barbosa as a witness is linked to one of the allegations in the motion calling for Rousseff's ouster. The suspended president is accused of enacting supplementary budget decrees without congressional permission.

Also held against her are delayed payouts to public banks in charge of government initiatives, like special credit for farmers, or the Bolsa Família conditional cash transfer program, which forced banks to use their own resources for funding. The money the government refrained from transferring is still taken into account, which masks—so Rousseff's opponents claim—the real predicament engulfing the budget. This strategy became known as “fiscal backpedaling.”

Crisis

Pro-impeachment senators insist that the moves aggravated the economic crisis facing the country. The onetime minister said that the crisis is associated with a number of internal and external factors. For instance, he  mentioned the adjustment of prices previously subsidized by the government, a decline in commodity prices, oil included, the adjustment in administered prices (water, electricity), cuts in spending and Congress itself, which was brought to a standstill as anti-government lawmakers refused to pass bills from the Executive branch and set to backing legislation which would lead to raising public expenditures even further.

Barbosa went on to argue that, had revenues not plunged so sharply due to lack of growth, the crisis “wouldn't have happened.”

Witnesses

Also to be heard today is Ricardo Lodi Ribeiro, Law Professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), with whom Supreme Court Chief Justice Ricardo Lewandowski, who presides over the trial at the Senate, brings the hearings to an end.

The trial will be resumed Monday (29), with the presence of Rousseff herself. In addition to presenting her defense before the 81 senators, the suspended president will answer questions from the lawmakers.


Translated by Fabrício Ferreira


Fonte: Impeachment: Former minister restates Rousseff's acts were legal
Edition: Denise Griesinfer / Nira Foster

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