THE trade union representing Brazil’s federal police investigators expressed concerns on Monday about how probes into government corruption will be handled by new Justice Minister Torquato Jardim.
Mr Jardim, a personal friend of President Michel Temer, is responsible for overseeing investigators and other members of the federal police department.
He has previously criticised the “Car Wash” corruption probe that has now spread to include alleged bribes by a construction company of politicians across Latin America.
He was appointed on Sunday by the coup-installed president, who is himself under investigation for alleged obstruction of justice and corruption.
Mr Temer obstinately denies wrongdoing and insists that he won’t resign.
The union of federal police investigators stressed that its members had no idea that the appointment of Mr Jardim was imminent, adding that the change in justice ministers “brings concerns and uncertainty over the possibility of interference in the work performed by the federal police.”
He is Brazil’s third justice minister in about a year and has criticised federal police investigations, raids and strategies in the recent past.
He replaced Osmar Serraglio, who also drew criticism from the police investigators’ union.
He was under pressure to resign as justice minister after being linked to a corruption investigation in the meat business, but he hung onto the job until President Temer decided to bring Mr Jardim in. The new minister was a member of Brazil’s top electoral court until a few years ago.
The court will launch a trial on on June 6 that could remove Mr Temer from office on charges of illegal campaign financing as well as strip impeached former president Dilma Rousseff of her right to run for office for up to eight years.
Supreme Court Justice Gilmar Mendes, who serves as chairman of the seven-judge electoral court, said that it’s not up to the judges to resolve Brazil’s political crisis.
He has also been a close personal friend of Mr Temer for decades.
“The trial will be on legal issues,” he claimed, defending the president’s choice of minister and adding that “he is very respected and he will certainly do his job very well.”