Prosecutor Request Court To Jail Former President Luiz Da Silva Of Brazil With Corruption

The prosecutor’s office in Brazil has requested the court to put former President Luiz da Silva, known as Lula, in jail after the defendant’s legal team appealed the court’s decision to convict the ex-leader.

According to a media outlet called Diario Correo , The prosecutors requested the court to “immediately start the implementation of the punishment,”. The 72-year-old politician was sentenced to 9½ years in jail last summer on bribery charges.

An appeals court upheld the ruling in January and increased the sentence to 12 years and one month.

Lula, who denied any wrongdoing, is to be jailed when his defense attorneys run out of appeal options.

While Lula is one of the most popular presidential hopefuls according to opinion polls, he is unable to run for president in the upcoming October election.

He served as president between 2003 and 2010, but is now barred from serving in any government capacity for the next 19 years.


Goodbye 2017, Hope For A Miracle In 2018 By Segun Odegbami

As dusk sets on another year, it is time once again for us to perform our annual ritual of looking back and then peering ahead. In looking back at 2017, what we see is Nigerian sports on a roller coaster heading to an undefined destination.

Simply put, administration, as has always been the case, has not managed to match plan with potential in sports development.

In 2017, there was, again, no grand plan to harness the huge amount of abundant natural talent that the whole world knows exists in this mass of Black humanity.

What is noticeable about the year is an emerging trend, a subtle change in strategy, of identifying good athletes to represent the country in international competitions from the fairly large pool of Nigerian youngsters born or living overseas.

This group, honed in the more advanced sports cultures abroad, has helped to shore up the talent base and reinforced the quality of representation in several national sports teams. This has been mostly noticeable in athletics, basketball and football.

This newly adopted strategy makes a big statement about the state of domestic sports development within the country itself – very slow, or non-existent in most sports.

So, in 2017, we can categorically state that there was no remedy still for the absence of an authentic domestic sports development plan in the country. There is no functional policy, no good infrastructure and facilities, little personnel capacity development and definitely no grand plan.

The other day, I was looking at a document prepared by the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) in 2003, for a 10-year sports development programme in Nigeria using the Australian model but anchored to the Nigeria Institute for Sports (NIS).

That plan was actually presented to, and approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) under former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

Implementation kicked off but was quickly buried in the storm of a change in government. The appointed members of a new governing Council of the NIS and new leadership of the NSC did not have the original vision, the enthusiasm, the passion and even the knowledge to sustain the implementation of that grand idea whose rewards and products lay in the distant future and could not be ‘seen’ immediately.

The plan was eventually ditched and now rests forgotten somewhere amongst several other similar archival materials of Nigerian sports.

It took a trip by President Obasanjo to Australia, and a visit by him to the Australian Institute of Sports for him to be apprised of what sports did for Australia that they could also do for Nigeria and its teeming youths. The ensuing enthusiasm birthed the approved but dumped 10-year Athletes Development plan.

The feeling amongst administrators at the time was that 10 years were a long time. To sustain the tempo for that length of time in this environment is impossible. Nigerians are impatient and never give allowance for germination and nurturing before cultivation. Things must be done now now and results must also be now now.

The fear is that no one survives that long in sports administration, and that they will not reap from what they have sown. Such is the myopia that drives sports development.

What cannot bear fruits immediately is not pursued. That’s why a coach must produce results immediately he is hired or he gets fired after the first major failure. That’s why Nigeria must win medals in the immediate next international competition or the administrator is counted as a failure. Achievement is tied to the medals rostrum.

That’s why also the short cut rules and fails down the line!

It has been 14 years since the Australian programme was approved. By now, if the country had been patient, had vigorously followed the plan, it would have become an advancing sports culture winning medals more consistently and steadily growing the sports industry.

In 1977, I was in China with the Green Eagles of Nigeria for an invitational tour. The national team visited the cities of Peking, Shanghai, Canton, and even Hong Kong.

China, of course, is an ancient civilisation with a long history dating back Centuries. But in 1977, I can testify, it was a Third World country in terms of economic, political and social advancement compared to the West.

It was a true communist enclave, relatively poor, overpopulated, remote and closed to the outside modern world. It welcomed very few tourists and visitors. Only very few cars plied its wide roads and boulevards filled everywhere with oceans of bicycle riders. There weren’t even coloured television sets in the modest homes the people lived in. The citizens wore the same set of ‘uniforms’ as clothing – white baggy shirts on grey baggy trousers.

The only Blacks in the whole of China according the information available were the Nigerian Ambassador, his family and few staff of the embassy. In all our travels in China, we did not encounter a single Black person!

Today, China is the probably second only to the USA as a global super power in virtually all fields. There are probably more Nigerians migrating to China than anywhere else in the world. There is a bulging Black population in China and Chinese cities have become some of the fastest urban developments in the world today!

All of this in less than 40 years!

The case of Brazil brings the matter even closer home.

When the Green Eagles also spent three months in Brazil in 1979, that country was very much like Nigeria, a young fledging emerging Third World democracy.

In fact, Brazil had a thriving Black population mostly of Nigerians of Yoruba extraction in the Bahia region where we went to play one friendly match. The country was very much like Nigeria rich in mineral resources and eager to improve the level of national infrastructural development.

The foundations of the first underground train system were just being laid in Rio De Janeiro at the time just as a similar project was sprouting in Lagos under the Lateef Jakande government.

The metro line system was a 25-year development projection. It looked like an eternity at the time. But only myopic self-serving administrators would think that way.

That was some 38 years ago. The metro line system in the city of Rio is working today and has moved the city into the 21st Century.

Whereas, the Lagos Metro-line system is just taking off now again after over 30 years in comatose, crippled by national politics, locked up in a drawer gathering dust and waiting for a national leader that can see beyond the mist of politics, and see that even eternity is NOW!

Whilst several countries have moved up the sports development ladder since the 1970s, Nigeria has remained in a warp!

The 10-year Athletes Development Plan designed by the AIS is dead. The NIS is a living dead institution. Nothing has happened. No meaningful sports development has taken place. No new plan is even in place!

That’s why the option of fishing for athletes to represent the country from the pool of Nigerians living abroad and honed in the advanced cultures of sports overseas has become attractive. It is the new short cut.

It is working in Basketball, in some Track and Field events, and particularly in football. Unfortunately, this pool of talent is still limited compared to the huge millions and millions of young Nigerian boys and girls in or out of schools waiting to be discovered, plucked, engaged and trained to become the best they can be all over the country.

In 2017 table tennis is one sport that has done fairly well through the effort of a few administrators with commitment to the relatively inexpensive community-driven sport.

There is wrestling also doing well and producing a pool of new local talents.

What is clear at the end of 2017 is that sports are still not appreciated by most States and the Federal Government as an important tool for national development beyond their periodic entertainment value.

As the country enters 2018, we hope that a ‘miracle’ will happen to change this mentality and attitude. That’s the only way some of us in the industry that keep our sanity in this clime.

New York Jury Finds 2 Ex-FIFA Chiefs Guilty Of Corruption

A jury in New York has found two South American ex-FIFA chiefs guilty of corruption. They are Jose Maria Marin, former head of Brazil’s Football Confederation and Juan Angel Napout, former head of Paraguayan football.

And promptly, the once-powerful pair were remanded into custody.

The panel will return after Christmas to deliberate on the fate of a third defendant, former Peru boss Manuel Burga.

The seven-week trial in a Brooklyn federal court exposed endemic criminal activity at the heart of the world’s most popular sport, two and a half years after the United States unveiled the largest graft scandal in the history of world soccer.

On the sixth day of deliberations, Marin, 85, was convicted on six of seven counts, and Napout, 59, on three out of five, in connection with bestowing television and marketing rights to soccer matches.

They were quickly remanded into custody, as marshals in plain clothes burst into the room to surround the men. Napout had just enough time to hand a watch, neck chain and belt to his wife, who sat in the gallery for the verdict with their children.

“The defendants are facing very significant potential sentences,” said Judge Pamela Chen, dismissing pleas from defense lawyers against immediate incarceration. Marin takes medication for depression and hypertension, his lawyer said.

Under federal regulations, Marin and Napout each face at least 10 years in prison. Each conviction carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

“I don’t think there are real reasons for appeal,” said Chen.

Manuel Burga: to know fate next week
But the jury said they had not yet reached consensus on Burga, 60, who faces one count of racketeering conspiracy. They will return to resume deliberations on Tuesday.

Government prosecutors indicted 42 officials and marketing executives, as well as the sports company Traffic, and detailed 92 alleged crimes to the tune of more than $200 million, but so far only these three defendants have faced trial.

Marin and Napout betrayed no emotion as they heard the verdicts.

Locals Shoot Thief’s Hand And Shares Video Online

A woman who was caught stealing in Brazil was given a rather rare kind of jungle justice by locals in Brazil.  Instead of reporting the robbery to the police, the local decided to live stream her punishment.

In a video shared online, the alleged thief is seen being questioned by locals as she pleaded in tears. They then asked her to stretch out her hands, which she did after seeing that her plea was getting her nowhere. Her hand can be seen shaking as she stretches it out, then one of the locals shoots her on the palm.

Recall that barely two weeks ago a group of children who had threatened an older group where tortured and gruesomely murdered by the older group, who went ahead to live stream their actions.

Social Media companies have still not been able to stop the streaming of crimes which seems to be on the rise around the world on their platforms.


Corrupt Leaders And The Law: Lessons From Brazil

There are so many reasons Nigerians should pay attention to the way Brazilians are dealing with impurities in their body politics. There is quite a lot to learn from the South American country about the power of citizens, the potency of institutions and the need to constantly expand the boundaries of excellence or good governance.
The news the other day that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, once the most popular president and the most respected figure in Brazil’s recent history, has been sentenced to nine years and six months in prison after being found guilty of corruption and money-laundering charges is worth the attention of every citizen who understands how heavy the yoke of corruption is in Nigeria.

Although Lula, as he is universally known, will remain free pending an appeal – and his supporters denounced the sentence as political persecution – the ruling marks a great fall for a leader Barack Obama once called “the most popular politician on earth.”

Lula won two mandates as Brazil’s first president from the leftist Workers’ Party and helped his hand-picked successor, Dilma Roussef, win two subsequent elections before she was impeached last year for breaking budget rules amid a sprawling corruption scandal at state –run oil company, Petrobas.

This is significant: while passing sentence on the former president, Judge Sergio Moro said Lula took part in the corruption scheme, in which billions of dollars were paid to middlemen, executives and politicians for fat contracts.

Born into poverty in Brazil’s arid north-east, Lula ran the powerful metal workers’ union before helping found the Workers’ Party with fellow leftists, unionists and intellectuals in 1980. He fought and lost three elections before winning the first of two mandates in 2002. Thanks to transformative social policies, and a booming economy, tens of millions of Brazilians were lifted out of poverty during his rule. And this has become a political case study around the world where service delivery has become a huge challenge to political leaders.

It is thus pertinent to note the fact that no other Brazilian politician in recent decades has been able to capture popular imagination with such verve and panoply. Although his reputation has been tarnished in recent years, he currently leads polling for the 2018 election.

And so if a higher court upholds Lula’s conviction, he will be ineligible to stand. Thus his residual profile will enable him, of course, to dramatise this process to say this is a process to stop him being a candidate. The condemnation will enter the political game as some observers have said in Brazil, a prominent member of G-20 and BRICS, a G-5 of emerging markets in global economy. The Workers’ party will exploit this politically and say Lula is a victim of dirty politics.

Meanwhile, the sentence was related to accusations that Lula benefited from about £590,000 in bribes from a construction company called OAS, which the prosecution alleged was paid in the shape of a seaside duplex apartment, renovated at Lula’s request.

In his ruling, the judge said that Lula had bought a simpler apartment in the same building worth about £53,000, and the company had upgraded him.Prosecutors said the payment was part of around £21million that OAS paid in bribes to Lula’s Workers’ party in return for lucrative contracts in two oil refineries that Petrobras was building, Moro wrote in his sentence. And this is the clincher and the lesson for leaders that care less about political corruption they often condone:

“The responsibility of a president of the republic is enormous, and, consequently, so is his guilt when he practises crimes,” the judge wrote.The lesson here is quite clear: in a country, it is only the law that rules, not the man called a leader, however, popular or revered. The message for Nigerians is that a culture that encourages impunity nurtured by legalised immunity as exemplified in any clause in any regulation or law of a country cannot trigger economic or even political development. Corruption should not be condoned, neither by the leaders nor the led, and the system must be strengthened to ensure pure compliance with the rules and ethics of governance.

In Brazil, rising incomes catapulted more than 29 million Brazilians into the middle class during the eight-year presidency of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. Because of him and his leadership style, the people prospered and many who were stuck at the bottom of the ladder remain, till today, beneficiaries of government handouts and other benefits such as enrollment in a steadily improving education system. Brazilians are staying in school longer, which secures them higher wages, drives consumption, which in turn fuels a booming domestic economy.

Lula is generally seen as a successful, even great leader. Yet, this feat could not be used as a defence mechanism for the former leader when corruption charges were read out against him in a law court. This is how a country should be run for the common good. This can only happen where the law, not a man, rules.This can only happen in a society where the frontiers of excellence and good governance are being pushed further by the day. Lula may eventually be exonerated and the theory of political conspiracy against him may turn out to be true. But the point has been made that purity in leadership is paramount and that appearance of impropriety will be seized upon as much as actual impropriety even at the highest level of leadership.

So, those in power in Nigeria who seem to care little about what they do with public funds despite the fierce campaign against corruption should note that the arms of the law is very long and will always reach them even long after leaving office.


Brazil’s Senate Passes Bill To End Recession

In a bid to pull the country out of it’s worst recession ever, Brazil’s Senate on Tuesday approved wide labor reforms to revive Latin America’s biggest economy.

This would serve as a major boost for embattled President Michel Temer who is in the position to pull the country through such a difficult time.

The legislation, which comes as Brazil is battling unemployment of 13.3 percent, was passed 50-26. The lower house approved the bill in April and it is expected to go into force this week.

“I think we passed one of the most ambitious reforms of the last 30 years,” Temer said after the vote.

“This definitive approval of the bill is a victory for Brazil in the battle against unemployment and in the construction of a more competitive country.”

The new rules allow companies and workers to negotiate agreements on certain issues, end compulsory union dues and give firms more flexibility on work hours and vacations for employees.

The legislation, which prompted unions to stage a strike in April and organize days of protests, was rejected by 58 percent of Brazilians, according to a recent survey.

Temer, who is battling for political survival after being charged with taking bribes, has said Brazil’s economy faces a meltdown without severe fiscal discipline and belt tightening.

He has succeeded in getting Congress to pass a 20-year freeze on spending increases.

Still to come is a controversial proposal to scale back the pension system, which is at the center of his austerity plans.

Tuesday’s vote took place after six hours of drama in the Senate chamber, which started when three opposition lawmakers blocked Senate President Eunicio Oliveira from his seat.

Oliveira responded by suspending the debates and cutting off the electricity.

Temer’s time in office has been blighted by the resignations of ministers and corruption claims creeping closer to his door.

The president faces a series of hearings before lawmakers vote on whether he should face a criminal trial over claims he accepted a $150,000 bribe from a meatpacking firm.

He has denied the accusation, which has made him the first sitting Brazilian president to face formal criminal charges.

Brazil Emerges From Recession as GDP Grows 1%

Brazil’s economy has grown 1% in the first three months of 2017, putting an end to the country’s longest recession in history, officials have announced.

The GDP increase came after two consecutive years of negative growth, during which the Brazilian economy shrank by almost 8%.

A record harvest of soybeans, one of Brazil’s main exports, gave the economy a boost.

But analysts warned Brazil could go back into recession in the near future.

A record 14 million people are unemployed according to official figures released earlier this week.

Uncertainty over the future of President Michel Temer has also rattled the markets.

Stock markets plummeted last month after a taped conversation was leaked in which the president seemed to discuss the payment of hush money to a jailed politician.

Mr Temer has denied the allegations, saying the tape had been “manipulated” but there have been growing calls for his resignation.

The ongoing corruption scandal has also thrown Mr Temer’s planned economic reforms into doubt.

The president wants to push austerity reforms through Congress to restore fiscal discipline but his plans have been met with street protests.

There has been particularly strong opposition to his proposal to overhaul the pension system and raise the retirement age to 62 for women and 65 for men.

The plan triggered Brazil’s first general strike in two decades.

Thursday’s GDP growth announcement is expected to bolster the president’s chances of staying in office and pushing through his reforms.

Buratai Bags Brazilian Highest Military Honour

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has been conferred with the Brazilian Military Order of Merit Award at Brasilia in Brazil.

The Award, which is the highest military honour, is awarded to those military officers that have distinguished themselves in various military endeavours. Lieutenant General Buratai is one of the few foreign dignitaries to be so honoured with such an award by the country.

The prestigious award and its presentation to him was based on the approval of President Michel Temer, on the recommendation of the Brazilian Army Commander, General Eduardo Villas Boas.

Recognised leadership
According to citation at the occasion, “the award is in recognition of his exemplary and world’s recognised leadership qualities as well as the Nigerian Army’s effort in the fight against terrorism and insurgency.’’

Lieutenant General Buratai expressed appreciation for the honour, which he described ‘not only to him personally but to the entire officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army and indeed, Nigeria.’

“I had never imagined that I was going to be given such recognition when I was planning to visit the Brazilian Army. It is no doubt a great honour to me, the Nigerian Army and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be bestowed with the Brazilian Military Order of Merit which is the highest and most prestigious award in the Brazilian Army,’’ he said

Long lasting leadership
He stated that the award was a clear manifestation of the long standing relationship between Brazil and Nigeria, which also portrays the recognition of Army’s effort in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations in Nigeria.

The Army Chief thanked the Government and the people of Brazil, as well as the Commander of Brazilian Army and his staff for finding him worthy of such award and recognition as well as the hospitality accorded him and his entourage.

He further expressed hope that his visit would serve as the needed fulcrum for more strengthened relationship between the Nigerian Army and the Brazilian Army.

Brazil to Face Argentina at International Friendly

Brazil will play Argentina in an international friendly on June 9 in Australia, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) said on Thursday.

“The stage for the game will be the Melbourne Cricket Ground, an arena with a capacity for 100 000 people,” the CBF said.

South America’s two most high profile teams frequently play friendly matches in neutral venues.

Argentina currently top the Fifa rankings, with Brazil in second

Football: Ex-Girlfriend Murderer, Returns to Sport

A former Brazilian soccer player, sentenced to more than two decades in prison for ordering the murder of an ex-girlfriend, has returned to the sport. He was released from prison on a technicality and swiftly signed by a team.

The decision has prompted outrage in Brazil, The Associated Press reports. Multiple sponsors have pledging to drop their support for Boa Esporte, the team that signed Bruno Fernandes de Souza.

Souza — known as “Bruno” in Brazil — used to play for Flamengo, in Rio de Janeiro. But his career seemed to be over after he was convicted in the grisly 2010 murder of a former girlfriend, Eliza Samudio.

“Bruno, his lover and his ex-wife were among nine people charged with torturing and murdering Samudio, who had been trying to prove [Souza] had fathered her son. …
“Samudio’s body was never found, but the goalkeeper’s cousin told the court Samudio had been demanding child support payments and that he had helped to dismember her body and fed her to several dogs.”
DNA eventually proved that Souza, who was married at the time, was indeed the father of Samudio’s child, the AP reports.

In 2013, Souza was convicted of ordering her murder, hiding her body and kidnapping their son. He confessed that he knew she was strangled and fed to dogs, but denied ordering her death himself, according to the BBC.
Souza was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison, but he was unexpectedly released about a month ago.

“A Supreme Court justice ordered his release on the grounds that his appeal to a higher court was languishing,” the AP reports.

Brazil is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, as NPR’s Lulu Garcia Navarro reported in depth last summer.
“In Brazil, a woman is killed every two hours and assaulted every 15 seconds – often by someone she knows — according to a report from the nonprofit Mapa da Violencia,” Lulu wrote. There are “specific laws against femicide and violence against women” meant to stem the epidemic — “But those laws haven’t been working.”

For example, Lulu spoke with Andreza da Silva, whose sister was murdered after she reported her husband for abuse. Here’s more from Lulu:

“Her sister’s husband became relentless, Silva tells me. He would show up outside the house and threatened that if she didn’t come back to him, he would kill her.
“She and the family asked for help, but the police did nothing. The neighbors said nothing.
“She thought he would eventually leave her alone. But on that December morning in 2015, he finally made good on his threats — murdering her in plain view. She was 32.
” ‘Why do you think this happened?’ I ask Silva.
” ‘The men here think that if you are with a woman, you own her,’ she tells me.”
Teresa Cristina Cabral, a state judge in Brazil who works on domestic violence training and education initiatives, notes that when Bruno de Souza’s case was first unfolding some people were critical of Samudio, the murdered woman, for having been Souza’s lover in the first place.

“Her behavior was kind of judged … [like] since she was not a ‘good girl,’ she deserved to die,” she says.

And now, Souza’s return to professional soccer sends a disturbing message about Brazilian attitudes toward domestic violence, Cabral says.
Brazilian model Eliza Samudio, shown in August 2009, disappeared in 2010. Bruno Fernandes de Souza was convicted of ordering her murder.

“We don’t care if he killed a woman — it doesn’t matter, really, because it doesn’t have anything to do with his ‘professional’ behavior,” she says. And she worries about the impact on young soccer fans who might absorb the message: ” ‘Well, it’s just a woman that was killed, whatever.’ ”

Cabral says she was encouraged to see some companies taking a stand against Boa Esporte for signing Souza, but that it’s clear cultural attitudes haven’t shifted on the issue.

Meanwhile, Boa Esporte stands by the controversial decision.

In one Facebook post, the president of the team suggested the team was doing something positive by giving him a job, which could provide “dignity.”

In another post, the team said Souza “deserves a new opportunity as a professional,” according to a CNN translation.

Ghosts Chase Brazil’s President From Residence

Brazil’s President Michel Temer blames bad vibes and even ghosts for driving him from his sumptuous official residence in the capital Brasilia.

A Brazilian news weekly reported, Temer surprised Brazilian politics watchers this week with the revelation that he has decamped from the Alvorada Palace.

He moved with his former beauty queen wife and their seven-year-old son down the road to the smaller vice presidential residence.

The modernist Alvorada, which means Dawn and was designed by Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, would be a dream home for many.

It has a huge pool, football field, chapel, medical centre and vast lawn.

But Temer, 76, and his 33-year-old wife Marcela, find the cavernous, glass-fronted building spooky.

“I felt something strange there. I wasn’t able to sleep right from the first night.
“The energy wasn’t good,” Temer was quoted as saying by Veja.

“Marcela felt the same thing. Only (their son) Michelzinho, who went running from one end to the other, liked it.”

“We even started to wonder: could there be ghosts?” he reportedly quipped to Veja.

According to a report in Globo newspaper, Marcela Temer brought in a priest to attempt to drive out any evil spirits, but to no avail.

The Temers then moved to the still luxurious but smaller Jaburu Palace nearby.

Temer knows it well: this was his residence when he served as vice president until last year when then president Dilma Rousseff was impeached for breaking budget accounting laws.

That automatically put Temer in the top job and in the Alvorada. No one filled his vacant vice presidential post, however, meaning he can now take his pick of palaces.

The house moving comes in the middle of a severe political crisis for Brazil, with many of Temer’s allies face potential corruption probes.

The president himself is battling a case in the electoral court where he is accused of having benefited from illegal donations when he and Rousseff ran together in 2014.