Paraná TV Second Edition. Originally broadcasted on March 19th, 2010 (friday).
March 21st, 2010 | Karlos Kohlbach, Katia Brembatti, James Alberti and Gabriel Tabatcheik
Inside the Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana there is a scam that siphons public funds through the salaries of ghost employees. In exchange of a little benefit, some people accept to receive salaries without working to earn them, and transfer the funds to the State Representatives that hired them. A lady, who works for the House and whose identity she asked not to be disclosed, reveals how the embezzlement happens.
She admits that she accepted to participate in the scheme in exchange of a health insurance policy with the same coverage available to the workers of the Assembly. Every month she is supposed to go straight to the bank teller’s desk to withdraw her salary and take the money straight to the State Representative office – which itself characterizes tax evasion, since the State Representative does not declare this income in his tax forms. She also revealed other servers do the same thing.
What is your relationship with the Assembly?
My relationship with the Assembly is restricted to my bank account.
What do you mean?
They came to me and asked: “What do you want? We want your bank account. It must be from someone we can trust”. They can certainly trust the people they choose. You also have to trust them too, since they get your bank card. They suggest, at first, they would return the favor by giving me health insurance, and I accepted it.
Did you hand your bank card, then?
Yes, I did. I handed it to the assistant to the State Representative. At first, the assistant would withdraw the money himself, so he needed to keep the card.
Where was the money deposited?
The money was deposited into my bank account. The assistant withdrew the money then. Since last year, I was given my card back. Today I just pass it [the money] to him. When the payday comes, I just go to my banking branch, straight to the teller’s desk, withdraw the money and give it straight to him.
How do you give him the money?
I just hand it to him.
How much do you receive every month?
The amount is never the same. Sometimes it’s a lot; sometimes it’s just a little. Sometimes I get BRL 1,000, sometimes I get BRL 7,000.
Why does it vary?
I think they get more people to receive my money instead of me.
Do you know anybody else participating in this type of transaction?
Sure. At this office and at many others. The cases are just the same as mine. People who have never worked for the money but still get paid.
Why have you decided to talk to us about it?
Because I realized I am being misled. I know that some people do it, they don’t work for the House, but they get much more than I do and some keep the money to themselves.
Have you ever worked for the Legislative Assembly?
In 2009, the Legislative Assembly made its payroll public. Is your name there?
Yes, it is.
Did the Assembly made a registry in your Work Reference Certificate?
No, they didn’t.
But your name is in their list, right?
Yes, it is. I am entitled to a paycheck, but I never see it. Once I was able to get a copy of it. I wanted some credit in a store and I needed proof of work.
How do you do your taxes?
They do it for me every year.
Don’t you pay taxes? Are you entitled to tax refunds?
I’ve never had to pay taxes since I never reached the limit. It’s always less than the limit. I get the tax refund and keep the money.
How much is your tax refund?
About BRL 2,000.
Do you know what happens to your salary [what the State Representative does with it]?
Do you talk to the State Representative? Is he aware of your condition?
I believe he is.
Are you aware this is illegal? Why did you accept this?
I think it’s because I have no occupation.
Do you want to stop doing this or not?
I can drop it anytime. I just don’t.
Have you ever proposed to keep the money?
No, I haven’t. I’ve been willing to do it. But I am sure he [the State Representative] will let me go if I do.
What is the name of the State Representative employing you?
I can’t tell. I might be retaliated if I do.
Does this State Representative have more ghost employees?
As far as I’m concerned there are other two besides me. But I know people that work [as ghost employees] for some other State Representatives.
What is your opinion about the new transparency agenda adopted by the Legislative Assembly?
It’s hard to stop doing it.
Do you regret it?
Yes. I tried to find a job but it didn’t work out. Somehow, I think I was affected by it. But I accepted it, so it’s my fault too.
Don’t you fear facing a criminal investigation?
If that happens, I have to deal with it.
So, in your opinion, is the State Representative the one to blame?
He is wrong for what he is doing, but I have myself to blame too. The only difference is he’s getting much more money than me.