The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) told the Federal Court that the evidence gathered by the Federal Police indicates that the alleged crimes in the Ministry of Education were committed “with the support of the then head of the ministry – Milton Ribeiro”.
Ribeiro was arrested this Wednesday (22) by the Federal Police. He is investigated for passive corruption, malfeasance, administrative law and influence peddling for alleged involvement in a scheme to release funds from the MEC. Pastors Gilmar dos Santos and Arilton Moura were also arrested, suspected of using influence in the MEC to negotiate bribes in exchange for funds from the ministry.
According to prosecutor Carolina de Oliveira, from the MPF, there are indications that a criminal organization acted in the MEC.
“In fact, the evidence collected and already documented points to the practice of crimes of active corruption, influence peddling, malfeasance and administrative advocacy, all in the context of a criminal organization. As well pointed out by the police authority, the crimes investigated were committed in the within the scope of the Ministry of Education, apparently, with the support of the then head of the portfolio — Milton Ribeiro”, said the prosecutor.
Corruption suspect, former education minister Milton Ribeiro spends the night in prison
According to Oliveira, the alleged criminal organization articulated itself to “use public funds in exchange for its own benefits”.
The prosecutor also mentioned that “they are influential people, with vast knowledge in the political sphere, who may use their knowledge to hinder investigations”.
Oliveira spoke out against the arrest of the investigated, but in favor of precautionary measures, such as banning suspects from keeping in touch with each other, not attending the MEC and banning them from leaving the country.
Complaints against the former minister
The inquiry was opened after the newspaper “O Estado de S. Paulo” revealed, in March, the existence of a “parallel office” within the MEC controlled by the pastors.
Days later, the newspaper “Folha de S.Paulo” released an audio of a meeting in which Ribeiro said that, at Bolsonaro’s request, he transferred funds to municipalities indicated by Pastor Gilmar Silva.
“It was a special request that the President of the Republic made to me on the issue of [pastor] Gilmar”, said the minister in the audio.
“Because my priority is to first serve the municipalities that need it most and, second, to serve all those who are friends of Pastor Gilmar”, added Ribeiro.
After the audio was revealed, Ribeiro left the command of the Ministry of Education.