Brazilian President Michel Temer has been accused of corruption after he allegedly pressured former Culture Minister Marcelo Calero to engage in corrupt practices.
He said he was asked to allow construction of luxury apartments in a historic district of Salvador.
Marcelo Calero had previously blocked the plans. President Temer has denied the allegations.
Image source Wikimedia
However, he admitted talking to Marcelo Calero about the project.
Michel Temer has vowed to clean up corruption in Brazil, but has lost three ministers to corruption allegations.
The scandal involves government secretary Geddel Vieira Lima, who had bought a property in Salvador in Bahia state.
Marcelo Calero’s ministry vetoed the construction, on the grounds that the proposed building was on a heritage site.
He told the police both the president and the minister had pressured him to overturn the decision.
Earlier this week, an ethics panel decided to open an investigation into Geddel Vieira Lima over the allegations, before Michel Temer’s alleged involvement came to light.
Despite pressures to sack Geddel Vieira Lima, the president said the minister will keep his job.
Michel Temer came to power earlier this year, after former President Dilma Rousseff was impeached during a lengthy political crisis that gripped the country.
Dilma Rousseff was accused of manipulating the budget, but maintained her innocence and said that her political opponents have carried out a “parliamentary coup”.
Michel Temer has since tried to maintain a stable government, but has been plagued with corruption allegations against his own party.
VIDEO At least 40 demonstrators stormed Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies demanding a military coup.
The protesters scuffled with guards and took over the podium as a session began on November 16.
Denouncing government corruption, protesters called for a return to military rule – which Brazil saw from 1964 to 1985.
In Rio de Janeiro, police fired tear gas at public sector workers protesting against cuts.
Demonstrators swept past security guards and smashed a glass door to get into the parliament chamber, where they shouted “general here, general here” and sang the national anthem.
According to Reuters, it took police three hours to round up all the protesters.They were all detained.
Later in the day, President Michel Temer’s spokesman, Alexandre Parola, called the protest an “affront” and said it was a “violation of the norms of democratic co-existence.”
Public confidence in Brazilian institutions has been eroded by a massive corruption scandal and the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.
Michel Temer was Dilma Rousseff’s vice-president before being promoted after her dismissal.
Last week Dilma Rousseff filed court documents accusing Michel Temer of accepting a large bribe. Michel Temer’s party says the money was a legal campaign donation.
Brazil was one of several Latin American nations where the military overthrew democratic governments in the 1960s and 70s.
The generals said they were countering the very real threat of a communist insurgency and had support from a considerable part of Brazil’s elite.
The military regime detained, tortured – and in some cases – killed its opponents, while overseeing rapid economic growth.
Also on November 16, protesters gathered outside the state legislature where austerity plans to tackle the city’s financial crisis were being debated
Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades into a crowd of about 2,000 protesters, ranging from teachers to off-duty police officers, AFP reported.
Brazil has been hit by a drop in global oil and commodity prices and declared a financial emergency ahead of the Rio Olympics earlier this year.
Many public workers have not been paid in months.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has been removed from office for manipulating the budget after Senators’ impeachment vote.
The Senate’s vote puts an end to the 13 years in power of her left-wing Workers’ Party.
Dilma Rousseff had denied the charges.
Sixty-one senators voted in favor of Dilma Rousseff’s dismissal and 20 against, meeting the two-thirds majority needed to remove her from the presidency.
Michel Temer has been sworn in as president and will serve out Dilma Rousseff’s term until January 1, 2019.
The center-right PMDB party politician had been serving as acting president during the impeachment proceedings.
However, Dilma Rousseff did win one battle on August 31 – a Senate vote on banning her from public office for eight years failed to pass, meaning she could in theory return to politics.
Pledging to appeal against her impeachment, Dilma Rousseff told her supporters:
“Right now, I will not say goodbye to you. I am certain I can say: <<See you soon>>.”
“They have convicted an innocent person and carried out a parliamentary coup.”
Venezuela’s leftist government reacted to the vote by removing its ambassador and freezing relations with Brazil.
Dilma Rousseff was suspended in May after the Senate voted to go ahead with the impeachment process.
She was accused of moving funds between government budgets, which is illegal under Brazilian law.
Dilma Rousseff’s critics said she was trying to plug deficit holes in popular social programs to boost her chances of being re-elected for a second term in October 2014.
She fought the allegations, arguing that her right-wing political rivals had been trying to remove her from office ever since she was re-elected.
Dilma Rousseff said that she was being ousted because she had allowed a wide-ranging corruption investigation to go ahead, which resulted in many high-profile politicians being charged.
Senators who voted in favor of her removal said it was Dilma Rousseff and the Workers’ Party who were corrupt and needed to go.
Brazilians have been divided on the issue, with many expressing their support and loyalty to Dilma Rousseff while others have taken part in large demonstrations demanding that she stand down.
Michel Temer has promised to boost Brazil’s economy, which is going through its longest and deepest recession in the past quarter of a century.