By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Amidst one of the most turbulent moments of his administration, Brazil’s President Michel Temer decided on Sunday to change his Justice Minister, Osmar Serraglio. Serraglio who had been in the post since March, switched positions with Minister of Transparency, Torquato Jardim without explanation.
“The President of the Republic decided, this afternoon, to appoint Professor Torquato Jardim to the Ministry of Justice,” said the press note released on Sunday.
“In announcing the name of the new minister, President Michel Temer expressed his gratitude for the efforts and work carried out by congressional representative Osmar Serraglio at the helm of the ministry, with whose collaboration he intends to count on other activities in favor of Brazil,” concluded the note by the Presidency’s press corps.
Serraglio’s period in the Justice Ministry was marked by controversies, including having his name mentioned in the Carne Fraca (Weak Flesh) investigations earlier this year.
The scandal involved some of the country’s largest meatpacking companies, repackaging tainted meat with new valid dates and bribing health inspectors to report their products as safe. Serraglio has accepted the post of Minister of Transparency.
The latest move by the Temer Administration is seen by analysts as an attempt by the president to steer attention away from the latest political embroil faced by his administration.
In the beginning of May, President Temer was heard in a recorded conversation with former JBS CEO, Joesely Batista, supporting the businessman’s action of paying off former Chamber of Deputies President, Eduardo Cunha, for his silence.
The recording, part of a plea-bargaining deal made by Batista with Lava Jato (Carwash) investigators, put the administration and congress in a tail-spin, as Batista told investigators of the millions paid to lawmakers and administration officials for benefits for his companies.