Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated on Friday evening that it was within his power to dismiss the country’s Federal Chief of Police, a move that later prompted the resignation of Justice Minister, Sergio Moro. The Minister of Justice gained wide popularity as the prosecutor investigating the so-called “Car Wash corruption-scandal”, which resulted in the imprisonment of the socialist former President, Lula da Silva.
When addressing the nation, Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, said he had never tried to interfere in police investigations and had never sought to shield family members from them. He said he had full authority to replace the federal police chief, who was dismissed earlier on Friday, triggering Moro’s resignation.
“I can change ministers. According to the law, can I not do it without the Federal Police chief? I don’t have to ask for authorisation from anyone to change any official or anyone else.”, stated Bolsonaro.
Sergio Moro, who won broad public support for jailing corrupt politicians and businessmen as a judge, said earlier in the day he was resigning because Bolsonaro fired federal police chief Mauricio Valeixo for personal and political reasons.
“I nearly demanded, begged former Justice Minister Sergio Moro to find out who ordered the assassination attempt on my life. Sergio Moro’s Federal Police were more concerned with the murdered lawmaker Marielle Franco than with his own Supreme Chief”, added the Brazilian head of state.
Sergio Moro was a judge who managed to convict the socialist former President Lula da Silva for his involvement in the Car Wash corruption scandal that involved a large part of Brazil’s political elite. However, Lula was released from prison on a technicality, serving only one year following a controversial Supreme Court ruling.
“The president really wants me out of office, he doesn’t want me in this post, and in carrying out his dismissal of the director of the federal police, I don’t see much justification to stay”, was Sergio Moro’s comment on the matter.
Political experts say that the opponents of Bolsonaro are likely to try to have him impeached, and will do their best to use Sergio Moro’s accusations to reach their goal.