The São Paulo Court of Justice convicted José de Aquino, former supervisor of the subprefecture of Sapopemba, in the east zone of São Paulo, accused of asking for bribes for reporter Agostinho Teixeira, from Rádio Bandeirantes.
In March 2019, after receiving information about a bribery scheme in the subprefecture, the reporter, without identifying himself, sought out the then head of inspection, posing as someone who was interested in having a street vendor stand in the region.
Aquino, according to the complaint made by the Public Ministry, told the reporter that the city government no longer provided the terms of permission, but that, upon payment of R$ 100 per week per tent, inspection would not bother him.
The conversation was recorded. After the release of the report, Aquino was dismissed from public service and the police launched an investigation.
The person in charge of inspection told the court that he never participated in a corruption scheme and that he never asked for or received any amount.
Aquino said he was the victim of a “setup” and that the reporter offered him money. She said that the released audio was edited and has inaudible excerpts.
“The facts that occurred demonstrate that a stage was set up for a journalistic scoop, in order to increase the ratings of the radio”, said to Justice the lawyer Edineia Torres, who represents the inspector.
The Public Ministry stated in the process that the journalist made an investigative report and that he did not instigate or induce the inspector to request the money. “He just approached the head of inspection, who, in a free and conscious manner, practiced the conduct foreseen in the Penal Code”, declared the prosecutor Orion da Costa to Justice.
The head of inspection was acquitted in the first instance. The Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed and the judges, on March 6, sentenced him to two years of open prison, a sentence that was replaced by the provision of services to the community for the same period and the payment of a minimum wage.
“The defendant’s empty denial succumbed to the firm, secure and converging report of the reporter and the transcript of the conversation in which the request for the undue advantage was made”, said the judge Francisco Orlando in the decision.
Aquinas can still appeal.
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