December 8, 2014 / 4:41 PM / 5 years ago

Brazil's anti-corruption comptroller Hage resigns

BRASILIA (Reuters) - Comptroller General Jorge Hage, the man in charge of fighting corruption in the Brazilian government, announced his resignation on Monday amid a widening graft scandal centered on state-run oil company Petrobras.

Hage said he sent President Dilma Rousseff his resignation a few days go. “I’ve done my duty. I’ve made my contribution. It is time to rest,” the 76-year-old lawyer said at a news conference marking Tuesday’s international anti-corruption day.

Earlier this year Hage complained that his office’s budget had been cut to the point where it was having trouble paying its telephone and electricity bills, let alone covering the expenses of tracking the misuse of government funds.

His resignation comes as prosecutors prepare to indict 11 executives from six of Brazil’s top engineering and construction firms for allegedly paying billions of dollars in bribes for contracts with Petroleo Brasileiro SA, the country’s largest company.

The comptroller general last week opened a case against eight construction firms that have contracts with Petrobras. The process against Camargo Correa SA, Engevix SA, Galvao Engenharia SA, IESA, Mendes Junior SA, Grupo OAS SA, Queiroz Galvao SA and UTC-Constran could prevent them from signing new contracts and lead to fines and other penalties.

The corruption case hangs over narrowly re-elected Rousseff as she prepared to start her second term on Jan. 1.

The money from kickbacks was funneled into the coffers of Rousseff’s Workers’ Party and its allies in Congress, according to a former Petrobras director who has reportedly named dozens of politicians who were on the take in plea bargain statements.

The judge presiding over the corruption case at Petrobras, Sergio Moro, last week called for the investigation of contracts for other public infrastructure projects citing evidence that the kickback and bribes scheme extended beyond the oil company.

Reporting by Anthony Boadle Editing by W Simon

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