Scandal brings down Brazil sports minister

Orlando Silva's resignation follows launch of formal inquiry into allegations that he misused government funds.

    Silva was in charge of Brazil's preparation for the 2014 football World Cup and 2016 Olympics [Reuters]

    Brazili's sports minister, Orlando Silva, has resigned after facing accusations of corruption, one day after the launch of a formal enquiry.

    Silva is the fifth member of Dilma Rousseff's government to resign amid corruption allegations since she took office in January.
     
    Silva, who was in charge of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics preparations, denies accusations that he helped arrange kickbacks worth million of dollars from schemes through social programmes funded by his ministry.

    "I asked to leave the government. I am leaving the government to defend my honour. I leave having fulfilled my duties," Silva said in a brief statement after a meeting with Rousseff.

    The presidential spokesperson, Gilberto Carvalho, told the Brazil state news agency that the decision by Brazil's supreme court on Tuesday to open a formal investigation into corruption allegations involving Silva had been a key
    factor in the request for his resignation.

    Embezzlement claim

    The Brazilian news magazine Veja accused Silva of helping to embezzle $23m from a government scheme that promotes sport for children from poor backgrounds.

    The money was allegedly used for personal enrichment and to fund the Communist Party, which is part of Rousseff's governing coalition.

    Silva called his accusers as "delinquent" and warned against what he called a modern inquisition in which people faced accusations without proof.

    Rousseff, who took office at the start of the year, was compelled to launch an anti-corruption drive in July after several prominent members of her government were accused of corruption, including her chief of staff, Antonio Palocci, who was forced to resign in June.

    Additionally, Wagner Rossi, the agriculture minister; Alfredo Nascimento, the transport minister; and Pedro Novais, the tourism minister; were forced to step down amid allegations of corruption and embezzlement.

    The mounting scandals come as the country prepares for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics, in what Brazilians had hoped would offer a showcase for its development as an economic and political power.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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