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By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter

SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – President of Brazil, Michel Temer, announced on Thursday (February 2nd) that he was raising the status of his close advisor and infrastructure investment secretary, Wellington Moreira Franco, to Brazil’s General Secretary of the Presidency, a cabinet-level position.

Brazil,Wellington Moreira Franco is now a cabinet member of the Temer Administration,
Wellington Moreira Franco is now a cabinet member of the Temer Administration, photo by Antonio Cruz/Agencia Brasil.

The government also announced the creation of the Human Rights ministry and the replacement for his Government Secretary.

“This set of initiatives reinforces the search for efficient management and the effort to always better meet the demands of society in concrete policies for the benefit of the Brazilian people,” said the president’s spokesperson, Alexandre Parola.

With the cabinet post Moreira Franco has advantages if he is ever charged in relation to the investigations of the Lava Jato (Carwash) corruption scandal. With his appointment the official can now no longer be judged by federal prosecutors, but rather only by the Supreme Court.

According to national daily Folha de S. Paulo, Moreira Franco was named 34 times in the plea-bargain deposition of former Odebrecht executive Claudio Melo Filho. According to Melo Filho the politician received money to defend the interests of the construction conglomerate.

Late last year when the depositions started to be obtained, Moreira Franco denied any having any involvement or given any advantages to Odebrecht for government contracts.

President Temer also created another Ministry, the Human Rights Ministry which had been extinguished by him when he took over from impeached President Dilma Rousseff. The new minister, Luislinda Valois, is the first black woman on the Temer cabinet.

After promising to reduce significantly the number of ministries created in the federal government by former President Rousseff, Temer has now, with these latest two creations, only four less ministries than his predecessor.

Temer also announced the replacement of Geddel Vieira Lima, who stepped down after being accused of pressuring another cabinet member for benefits in his home town. The new Government Secretary is Antonio Imbassahy.

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