Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva the former president of Brasil was on Wednesday last week found guilty on money laundering charges and corruption and sentenced to nine years and six months in prison, he remains free pending an appeal.
This conviction creates a major step back in the preparations prior his political comeback in the next 2018 elections under Workers’ Party.
Da silva founder of the Workers’ Party and an alliance of leftist groups is said to have benefited about £590,000 in bribes from a construction company called OAS,which the prosecution alleged was paid in the form of a luxurious seaside duplex apartment, renovated at Lula’s authorisation.
Prosecutors said the payment was part of around £21m that OAS paid in bribes to Lula’s Workers’ party in return for lucrative contracts as part of two oil refineries that Petrobras was building, Judge Segio Moro wrote in his sentence.
Conviction on a 71 year old merely mocks the legacy of one of Brazil’s most commanding political figure. Lula ascended from poverty and steered the nation to developmental prosperity and global achievements; securing 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, tens of millions of Brazilians escaped poverty during his reign in power. The convict had stood and lost three elections before winning the first of two mandates in 2002.
Lula professed his innocence in may and denied owning the apartments after 5 hours of testimony. He believes in Justice and depends on his party and Lawyers to retain his freedom.
“President Lula is innocent. For over three years, Lula has been subject to a politically motivated investigation. No credible evidence of guilt has been produced, and overwhelming proof of his innocence blatantly ignored,” they said. “We will prove Lula’s innocence in all unbiased courts including the United Nations.” His lawyers, Cristiano Martins and Valeska Martins, responding to the sentence in a statement that moro wrote.
“The responsibility of a president of the republic is enormous, and, consequently, so is his guilt when he practices crimes,”
The head of the Workers’ Party, Senator Gleisi Hoffmann, also hit out at the ruling, “We view this as an attempt to push Lula out of the electoral process,”and “A presidential election without the participation of Lula is fraudulent and undemocratic. If you want to take him out of the running, then put up a candidate and run against him in the electoral booth.”
Several politicians have found themselves in the situation of scrutiny under operation “car wash” whose major player is Newton Ishii. A police officer whose fame and heroism thrives on his achievements in investigating and exposing corrupt political leaders.
The workers party felt a several blows of scandal when it lost presidency at the work of the senate impeaching Dilma Rousseff, Da Silva’s successor for breaching budget rules and involvement in corruption as well as petrobas scandal. Tarnishing the reputation of political organization that has governed Latin America’s largest nation for 13 years, the longest reign of a democratically elected party in Brazilian history.
The former Workers’ Party treasurer Joao Vaccari Neto, was sentenced to 15 years by the same judge who convicted Lula for attaining kickbacks.
Eduardo Cunha, the former speaker of the House, was sentenced in March to 15 years in jail for money laundering and corruption uncovered during the Petrobras investigation. And Mr. Temer, the current president is also feeling the heat of investigation of graft scandal.
Lula still has a chance to run for presidency if he is successful on his appeal in the higher court, however, he could lose the chance to represent his party in the next election if he fails.
Da Silva addressed a throng of crowd and cheering supporters, at a press conference at the Workers’ Party headquarters in São Paulo. Painting himself as the victim of a deceitful judiciary that had wandered dangerously into politics. As one of the major contender for 2018 elections polls, he still commands loyalty of many. Most of them took it to the streets to protest his conviction on the following day.
Defying Moro’s ruling he said, showed “absolutely no proof” of his guilt. “If they think that with this sentence they will take me out of the game, let them know that I’m in the game,” Mr. da Silva said on Thursday, after the day of conviction on charges of money laundering and corruption.