Rousseff's 7th minister resigns in Brazil over corruption scandal
Feb 2, 2012, 22:43 GMT
Brasilia - Brazilian Cities Minister Mario Negromonte on Thursday became the seventh minister since June to resign from President Dilma Rousseff's 37-member cabinet.
Rousseff, who returned early Thursday to Brazil after visiting Cuba and Haiti, met with Negromonte in the presidential palace amid allegations of corruption in his ministry.
Negromonte tendered his resignation but said he will continue to support the government in Congress, where he holds a seat. He has denied corruption allegations but argued that he was no longer politically able to perform his duties as minister.
Allegations of corruption against Negromonte arose in November, when the media reported his main advisor, Cassio Peixoto, was suspected of fraud in works to improve public transportation in Cuiaba, one of the host cities of the 2014 football World Cup which is set to be held in Brazil.
Last week, the daily Folha de Sao Paulo reported that Negromonte had taken part in private meetings with a businessman and a lobbyist with an interest in Cities Ministry plans. Two of his direct aides have been sacked in recent days.
Since June, Rousseff has seen the resignations of her chief of staff Antonio Palocci, and ministers Alfredo Nascimento of transport, Wagner Rossi of agriculture, Pedro Novais of tourism, Orlando Silva of sport and Carlos Lupi of labour.