By Chesney Hearst, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Allegations of fraud continue in Brazil as some low income familes in the northern state of Pará remain without the homes they were promised after registering for the major government public housing program, Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House My Life).
Problems have been reported in the Pará municipalities of Jacareacanga, Bannach, Ourilândia do Norte, Floresta do Araguaia and São Domingos do Araguaia with the former head of the Bannach Mayor’s Office, Álvaro Luís Almeida, telling O Globo that only eleven out of sixty houses scheduled to be built in that municipality have reached completion.
RCA Assessoria, a company run by former civil servants, is again at the center of the ongoing controversy.
Last April, the company was under investigation for allegedly defrauding Minha Casa Minha Vida (My House My Life) through a network of front companies.
A former collaborator, Naum Fialho, is now accusing the company of money laundering in a recent lawsuit.
“They receive public funding for construction of houses, but do not build them. They secure contracts through front companies in order to avoid paying suppliers and service providers. They launder money through these same companies. The conspiracy is uncontested and these are serious crimes,” alleges Fialho in his lawsuit.
According to the documents Fialho submitted as part of his lawsuit, he was hired to record the possible beneficiaries of the public money allocated for construction of Minha Casa Minha Vida homes in Pará municipalities with less than 50,000 residents.
RCA reportedly passed the construction of the homes in the state to a contractor, Madeireira Construtora Incorporadora Castor, a company located in Valparaíso de Goiás, 60 km outside of Brasília. Castor is also reportedly owned by the father of a former partner of Fialho.
RCA responded to the allegations in a statement saying that they have no legal contract with Naum Fialho and that the individual municipalities in question, and not RCA, were responsible for the choice of contractor for the construction in Pará.
At the moment, government officials do not know when the construction issues will be resolved. The R$72 billion Minha Casa Minha Vida program is in the process of building over two million new homes throughout Brazil by 2014.
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