President Jair Bolsonaro (PL) said this Friday (24), at an event in João Pessoa, Paraíba, that a government’s obligation is “not to steal”, ignoring the Federal Police operation that led to the arrest of the former president. -Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro and two evangelical pastors, Arilton Moura and Gilmar Santos —allies of the president.
“It is an obligation for a government that does not steal, that is not corrupt. We are leaving behind a sad moment in our history”, he said.
On the morning of this Wednesday (22), the former Minister of Education was the target of a Federal Police operation and arrested, suspected of influence peddling, when he commanded the portfolio.
The scheme was revealed in March, when a recording by Milton Ribeiro was released. In the audio, he stated that the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) prioritized requests for funds negotiated by two pastors: Gilmar Santos and Arilton Moura. The transferred amounts were part of the National Fund for the Development of Education (FNDE).
Neither of the two has ever held official positions in the federal government, but since 2021, the two have been meeting with mayors at the Ministry of Education. The meetings led to payments and commitments (reserve of values) of R$ 9.7 million, in just days or weeks after promoting the agendas.
According to Milton Ribeiro’s audio, the performance of the two pastors would have started after a request from President Jair Bolsonaro.
Judge Ney Bello, from the Federal Regional Court of the 1st Region, overturned the decision to preventively arrest former Minister of Education Milton Ribeiro. The measure has an injunction and also determined the release of the pastors.
Inquiry goes to STF
The inquiry that investigates possible irregularities in the Ministry of Education, which led to the arrest of former minister Milton Ribeiro, must be sent to the Federal Supreme Court (STF). The decision, according to TV Globo, was taken by the 15th Federal Court of Justice of Brasília.
The justification is that the Justice says that an authority with a privileged forum may have interfered in the investigations – President Jair Bolsonaro (PL). The decision is by Judge Ricardo Borelli and the magistrate does not name who would have been the authority in question.
According to the Federal Public Ministry, telephone interceptions of the former minister were made and the recordings indicate that the investigation may be leaked.
“Furthermore, on this occasion, the MPF requests that the detailed report no. Bolsonaro in the investigations, be removed from the case and sent, in a separate and confidential way, to the Federal Supreme Court”, wrote the Public Ministry, in a document released by TV Globo.
Last Thursday night (23), the Federal Police had already announced that it would open an internal procedure to investigate “rumors of possible interference” in the operation that led to the arrest of Milton Ribeiro. The PF, however, does not specify what the interference would have been.