In another embarrassing blow to the recently formed administration of Brazil's acting president Michel Temer, the minister of transparency, Fabiano Martins Silveira, stepped down Monday night following the release of recordings in which he criticized the corruption investigation surrounding state oil company Petrobras and gave legal advice to the senate president, who is being investigated in the so-called Lava Jato operation.

He is the second cabinet member to step down in less than three weeks after being caught on tape referencing the investigation. Planning minister Romero Jucá was taped allegedly conspiring to obstruct the Lava Jato operation.

"The loss of two ministers within 18 days of taking office underscores the fragility of the Temer administration, which stems from its reliance on exchanging cabinet appointments for the support of congressional allies," said Jimena Blanco, head of Latin America at political risk firm Verisk Maplecroft.

"Recurring political scandals will impair Temer's efforts to restore both public and market confidence by enhancing concerns about the government's ability to overcome the political stalemate that has paralysed policymaking for more than two years."

Both the recordings of Silveira and Jucá were taped by Sérgio Machado, the former president of oil and gas transportation firm Transpetro, who is also being investigated and is reportedly trying to negotiate a plea bargain with authorities.

"The recordings predate Silveira's appointment as the country's transparency chief," Blanco said. "Nonetheless, they raised serious concerns about Silveira's suitability to spearhead efforts to clean up the federal administration."

Blanco also noted that "more than half of all members in each chamber of congress are currently under investigation in relation to corruption allegations, including Lava Jato."

Another six members in the cabinet are being investigated, leading Blanco to believe that more leaks and resignations are likely to come.


Source: BNamericas