Paraná TV Second Edition. Originally broadcasted on March 20th, 2010 (saturday).
March 21st, 2010 | Karlos Kohlbach, Katia Brembatti, James Alberti and Gabriel Tabatcheik
The Legislative Assembly of the State of Parana omitted 2,178 acts enacted from January 2006 to March, 31st 2009, date when the House payroll was made public. That represents an average of 55 secret acts enacted per month – two every working day. These acts have never been publicized in any official numbered file and couldn’t be found in single page files – files elaborated with no sequence or chronological order and kept away from the eyes of society.
The figures unveil the deliberate omission of the executive board’s actions. If there were no secret documents, the House should have published 5.494 acts in its daily files. Reality shows a different scenario, though. The Assembly disclosed only 2,386 acts in numbered files. As for the rest, 2,178 have never been publicized and 937 could be found in single daily files to which Gazeta do Povo had access, summing 3,108 acts (56,7%).
The files consulted by Gazeta do Povo and RPCTV also reveal that the House directors omitted 216 acts on a single occasion. Daily file #40, from May, 2007, shows act 412/2007- that concerns an allowance to an employee hired through public admission examination. After this act, the next act by published by the Assembly was numbered under 629/2007 – that concerns the exoneration of a commissioned employee working at the former State Representative Padre Paulo’s office. What happened to acts 412 to 629 is unknown.
Besides the numbered files, Gazeta do Povo had access to a series of single page files elaborated from 2006 to March 2009. The House administration uses precisely these editions to publish hundreds of nominations and exonerations. It was possible to find in these documents 947 entries for staff records, being 913 entries (over 96%) only to register admissions and dismissals.
Crossing the data found in single page files with the data in the numbered ones, the figures draw attention: there is an average of 10 admissions or dismissals in numbered files, but in the unnumbered ones this numbers skyrockets to 65.
The number of acts unpublished by the House is impressive. The secret acts enacted by the Senate, uncovered last year, were about 663 decisions that were never made public. The senate acts refer to a 14-year period – from 1995 to 2009. After internal investigations, it was found that the acts hid the admissions and some advantages of some senators’ relatives.
“Their M.O. is similar. At the end of the day, we are talking about the same thing. These acts are, at the very least, suspicious” informed Mamede Said, professor at Universidade de Brasília (UnB) and master of Public Law, who sees similarities between the secret acts scandal in the Senate and the case happening in Parana.
According to him, the attempt to conceal public acts reveals dishonesty, since there is no reason to hide actions taken according to the law and ethical principles.
Said also outlines that this behavior seeks to conceal attitudes compromising the person who enacted the public act or those benefited by it. “A secret act is unacceptable. The Constitution makes an exception only for information concerning security and intimacy. Admissions don’t actually fit into national security matters and have nothing to do with intimacy.”
The professor claims that secret acts are void and might have their validity questioned by Justice. “If I were nominated through a secret act, my payments should be frozen. If I am able to prove that I worked for the State, I won’t need to refund the money. But this vice should be interrupted until it’s legalized.”
According to André Barbi, lawyer specialized in Political Law, secret acts are not accepted by the Brazilian constitutional system. “This goes in the opposite direction of the democratic evolution,” he said. Barbi emphasizes that this type of attitude can only be prevented with complaints and intensive monitoring. The penalties vary from internal syndications – that determine if there will be a warning or the automatic dismissal of the employees involved – to civil scope measures, according to the precepts of the administrative improbity law. The sanctions applied are normally fines, refunds and the revoking of political rights.
Mamede Said outlines that the penalties are aggravated when the administrative irregularity causes loss to the treasury. “If the unpublished document allows the payment of irregular salaries, this aggravates the situation,” he said.
> 2,386 acts were published in the Assembly daily files from 2006 to March 2009;
> 937 acts were published in single page files which Gazeta do Povo was able to access. The files refer to the same timeframe.
> 10 entries for staff records, in average, can be found in the official numbered Assembly daily files
> 65 entries for staff records, in average, can be found in the irregular and unnumbered single page files of the House.
> 663 secret acts – number of acts uncovered in the Senate secret acts scandal, made public last year.