After a lengthy process that took nine months, Brazil impeached its first female president, Dilma Rousseff.

The impeachment proceedings, launched owing to accusations of "fiscal peddling", followed revelations of a massive corruption scheme at state-owned energy giant Petrobras. Before assuming the presidency, Rousseff was chairman of Petrobras, Brazil's biggest company, between 2003 and 2010.

When asked by UpFront host Mehdi Hasan on how the sprawling kickback scandal happened on her watch, Rousseff maintains she had no way of knowing.

"Not all members of the board of directors were aware that those Petrobras directors had mechanisms of corruption and were illicitly lining their pockets," says Rousseff.

"None of the three external independent audits detected anything. Nor did the internal audit. Nor did any governmental inspection body detect anything."

Rousseff, who was removed from power in August after Brazil's senate found her guilty of "fiscal pedalling" by breaking budgetary laws to disguise a deficit in public accounts, dismisses the grounds for her impeachment and insists she was the victim of a "parliamentary coup".

"The parliament allied itself with segments of the judiciary system and launched a coup d'état, removing a president from office, with completely unsubstantiated allegations," says Rousseff.

She goes on to call Brazil's current president, Michel Temer - formerly her vice president - an "illegitimate president" and a "traitor" who came to power by "tearing up the Brazilian constitution".

"He didn't betray me as the person Dilma Rousseff, he rather betrayed the President of the Republic, he betrayed an institution," Rousseff says of Temer.

"Furthermore, he betrayed a campaign ... because we were elected with a programme, and this programme did not anticipate that he would freeze spending on education and healthcare for the next 20 years," she says, referring to the extreme austerity measures passed by Temer's government.

In a special sit-down interview with UpFront, Brazil's former president, Dilma Rousseff, talks to Mehdi Hasan about her presidency, impeachment and legacy.

Follow UpFront on Twitter @AJUpFront and Facebook.

Source: Al Jazeera News