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Brazil's new labor minister takes over after Lupi quits over scandal

12-06-2011 11:02 BJT

RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- Brazil's new Labor Minister Paulo Roberto dos Santos Pinto took office Monday after former minister Carlos Lupi stepped down over corruption allegations.

Pinto, who was the ministry's executive secretary, will remain in the position until President Dilma Rousseff reforms her first cabinet in January.

Former minister Lupi resigned Sunday evening following mounting corruption accusations and Rousseff's reported decision to fire him.

In his resignation statement published on the ministry's website, Lupi blasted local press and the Ethics Commission of the Presidency, saying he was condemned without being given the right to defend himself.

Lupi said he left the government "with a clear conscience" and that he was confident that truth would prevail.

The crisis in the Labor Ministry started in early November, when news magazine Veja ran a story about an alleged bribe scheme involving high ministry employees.

Days later, the same magazine ran another story accusing Lupi of flying on a private plane paid for by a businessman whose company signed contracts with the Labor Ministry.

Lupi was summoned to the Congress to explain the incident and said that his assistant, not him, was responsible for the travel arrangements in that particular trip.

A third story from daily Folha de Sao Paulo accused the minister of serving and receiving salaries from two public jobs in Brasilia and Rio, which is illegal under the Brazilian law.

Last week, the Ethics Committee recommended that Lupi be fired, but President Rousseff insisted on going over the evidence herself first.

After serving as labor minister for five years, Lupi was the seventh minister to leave the government since Rousseff took office in January, and the sixth minister to step down over a corruption scandal.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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