The Sidewalks of São Paulo: Marching to the Beat of the GONGO Bongo?
“The solution is secession [separation]!” If the rest of Brazil wants [Squid], let them have him. We will stick with Alckmin. Down with [Squid]!” Grassroots campaign literature, 2006. São Paulo made successive attempts, of fascist inspiration, to secede from the federal union in the 1930s.

GONGO stands for Government-operated Non-governmental organization. It is usually a governmental organization that poses as an NGO in order to give progovernmental information.

Maracutaia (PT-Br): “Obscure dealings, illicit maneuvers, especially in politics or management; trafficking, fraud, [obscure and skeevy] wheeling and dealing. Origin uncertain, probably from Tupi-Guarani, as a composite of mara “confusion, disorder” + ku “tongue, faculty of speech” + taya “pepper.” First recorded by Teodoro Sampaio.” –Definition by the Houaiss dictionary, my creative, draft-quality translation.

I did this within a philosophical framework, and a moral and legal framework. And I have been turned into a cartoon of the greatest villain in the history of lobbying. –Jack Abramoff

MP de SP apura favorecimento à ONG ligada a tucanos: State prosecutor of São Paulo investigates NGO with ties to the current party of government. The Estado de S. Paulo reports.

The federal Senate has also just installed a parliamentary commission of inquiry on the nonprofit sector, the “CPI of NGOs,” looking at the outsourcing of government services to so-called “OSCIPS” — “public-interest civil society organizations” — from 1999-2006.

That is, under both Cardoso II and Lula I, after the passage of law permitting and regulating (in theory) this sort of public-private partnership in 1999.

The timeframe was a source of major political wrangling, the subtext being the usual framing of the blame game: Which party presided over the most massive NGO-related maracutaias: the last party of government or the current one?

The newly created CGU, a federal controller’s office attached to the executive which to some extent seems to compete (tooth and nail at times) with the TCU — the judicary’s federal accounting tribunal — says it will contribute significantly to the CPI of NGOs. See also

The issue has been in the news quite a bit lately, and not just in Brazil. See

Still, although the following report suggests that a lot of the alleged maracutaias went on under then-Mayor José Serra, it was also Serra who promised, early in his term as governor, to undertake a systematic review of the state’s contracts, including its public-private partnerships.

Serra’s refusal to intervene in a state assembly probe of the Nossa Caixa state credit union — in which a caixa dois, or political slush fund, scheme is suspected involving the laundering of money to political cronies through NGOs, through fraud in advertising budgets — was reported to have enraged supporters of his internal political rival and predecessor as governor, Geraldo Alckmin. His laconic phrase: “Corruption has to be combated, no matter who gets hurt.”

My petista friends cannot stand the guy, but even my Greenish-petista wife thinks he was pretty okay as federal health minister. And I can at least say this: When he opens his mouth, gabbling nonsense does not tend to emerge.

Laundering public and private money through advertising budgets into political slush funds is, of course, the basic premise of the so-called valeriodúto scandal here — which it amuses me to refer to as the Belo Horizonte Baldy case, after its central figure, a big-time ad exec from the capital city of Minas Gerais.

To the newsflow:

SÃO PAULO – O Ministério Público Estadual investiga as relações do Instituto de Desenvolvimento, Logística, Transportes e Meio Ambiente (Idelt) com o governo paulista e prefeituras. O Idelt é uma organização não governamental criada por Alberto Goldman (PSDB), vice-governador paulista, Frederico Bussinger, ex-secretário municipal de Transportes de São Paulo, e Thomaz de Aquino Nogueira Neto, atual presidente da Desenvolvimento Rodoviário S.A. (Dersa), entre outras pessoas ligadas ao setor de transporte público e ao PSDB. É presidido pela mulher de Bussinger, Vera Bussinger. E recebeu pelo menos R$ 5 milhões dos cofres públicos nos últimos sete anos.

The state prosecutor is investigating the relationship of the Institute for Development, Logistics, Transportation and the Environment (IDELT) with the state and municipal governments. IDELT is an NGO created by [federal deputy] Alberto Goldman (PSDB), the vice-governor of São Paulo, Frederico Bussinger — who formerly served as São Paulo’s municipal transportation secretary — and Thomaz de Aquino Nogueira Neto, current president of the [Highway Development, S.A.] (DERSA), among other persons with ties to the public transportation sector and the PSDB political party. IDELT is presided over by Bussinger’s wife, Vera Bussinger, and received at least R$5 million from the public treasury over the last seven years.

Promotores querem saber se houve superfaturamento dos contratos e favorecimento da organização não governamental ligada ao PSDB. São analisados ao menos 16 contratos e aditamentos, parte sem licitação, com Dersa, Sabesp, Secretaria Estadual do Trabalho, prefeituras de São Paulo e Carapicuíba, segundo publicações do Diário Oficial do Estado. As contratações referem-se a cursos de qualificação profissional como assistente administrativo, reciclagem de lixo, conservação, limpeza e formação de mão de obra para fazer calçadas (calceteiro), além de assessoria técnica em transporte público e programas de água de reúso. A Dersa alega que não havia necessidade de licitação pelo fato de o instituto ter notória especialização nos setores em que atua.

Prosecutors want to know whether there was overbilling in these contracts, and favoritism shown to the PSDB-tied NGO. They are analyzing at least 16 contracts and contract extensions, some of them without competitive bidding, with DERSA, SABESP, the state labor secretary, and the municipal governments of São Paulo and Carapicuíba, according to the state’s Official Diary. The contracts related to professional training courses for administrative assistants, garbage recycling, conservation, and street-cleaning, and vocational training for workers in the area of sidewalk construction. DERSA alleges there was no need for competitive bidding because it is a well-known specialist in those areas.

That was the Web site teaser. More excerpts from the main story:

Um dos inquéritos foi aberto no fim de setembro pela Promotoria da Justiça e Cidadania e apura quatro contratos e três aditamentos feitos entre o Idelt e a Dersa, que somam mais de R$ 450 mil. O outro, em andamento desde o ano passado, analisa contrato de R$ 948 mil com a Prefeitura de São Paulo, firmado na gestão de José Serra (PSDB).

One of the probes was opened in late September by the Justice and Citizenship office and is looking into four contracts and three contract extensions between IDELT and DERSA, worth more than R$450,000. The other, ongoing since last year, is looking into a R$948,000 contract with the municipal government of São Paulo, signed when Serra was mayor.

Nos dois casos não houve licitação para contratação, apesar de existirem outras instituições capazes de fornecer tal tipo de serviço, como a Escola de Sociologia e Política de São Paulo, a Fundação Tide Azevedo Setúbal, o Instituto Paradigma, a Cosmética Beleza e Cidadania, entre outras ONGs e instituições. Estas três últimas mantêm atualmente parcerias com a Prefeitura da capital.

In both cases, there was no competitive selection process for awarding the contract, even though other institutions capable of supplying such services exist, such as the São Paulo School of Sociology and Politics, the Tide Azevedo Setúbal Institution, the Paradigma Institute, Beauty and Citizenship Cosmetics, and other NGOs and foundations. The latter three currently have partnerships with the São Paulo city government.

The current mayor is sort of louco about the notion of “beautification” as a top policy priority. The guy’s brother is, as I read, head of new projects for the Metrô subway authority. This is not, however, a conflict of interest. It is an innovation synergy!

The state of São Paulo sidewalks — basically, it’s every property owner for himself, and sometimes the pedestrian passing through the public easement is not accomodated at all, or only minimally — always impressed me as one of the most striking indices of the state of public space in this town.

They seem to represent sort of a cumulative secession of individual proprietors from the commonwealth, an extreme balkanization of the city as a shared public space. Every condo dweller a miniature latifundiário. It is a weird phenomenon to try to grok.

A promotora Luciana del Campo quer saber se houve necessidade de a Dersa contratar o Idelt para fazer assessoria técnica, serviços de modelagem e gerenciamento dos Portos de São Sebastião e Santos. Foram quatro contratos — 1999, 2001, 2003 e 2004 — e três prorrogações, realizadas durante os governos Mário Covas e Geraldo Alckmin, ambos do PSDB. Os quatro contratos, que receberam três aditamentos, somaram originalmente R$ 441.228 – sem os acréscimos. O primeiro deles foi firmado em 2000, no valor de R$ 86.400.

Prosecutor Luciana del Campo, meanwhile, wants to know whether there was really a need for DERSA to hire IDELT for technical advice, modeling and managements of the ports of Santos and São Sebastião. There were four contracts — in 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004 — and three extensions, awarded during the state administrations headed by Covas and Alckmin, both of the PSDB. The four contracts and three extensions were originally valued at R$441,228 — before additions. The first was signed in 2000, in the amount of R$86,400.

O outro procedimento investigatório do MPE é sobre o contrato feito no fim de 2005 com a Secretaria do Trabalho da Prefeitura de São Paulo, na gestão do prefeito José Serra. O instituto mais uma vez foi contratado sem licitação para realizar cursos para formação de calceteiros, auxiliares de serviços gerais, auxiliares de escritório e reciclagem de lixo. Por isso, são investigados o ex-prefeito Serra, o ex-secretário municipal do Trabalho, Gilmar Viana, Frederico Bussinger e sua mulher Vera, que preside o Idelt.

The other MPE investigation is probing a 2005 contract with the city secretary of labor, signed when Serra was mayor. The foundation once again was awarded the contract without a competitive selection process to conduct courses for sidewalk-construction workers, general service laborers, office assistance and garbage recyclers. Under investigation are former mayor Serra, former labor secretary Gilmar Viana, Frederico Bussinger and his wife, Vera, who heads IDELT.

O instituto receberia R$ 948.750 por nove meses de trabalho prestados à Prefeitura de São Paulo, mas, segundo a Secretaria Municipal do Trabalho, o contrato assinado em 2005 foi rescindido em dezembro do ano passado, já na gestão de Gilberto Kassab (DEM).

The foudation is to receive R$1 million for nine months of work for the city government, but according to the city labor secretary, the 2005 contract was rescinded last December under the administration of Mayor Kassab (ex-PFL).

A administração municipal pagou quatro parcelas, além de duas multas rescisórias previstas em contrato, num total de R$ 534.763,93. Segundo a secretaria, o Idelt cobrou na Justiça a diferença de R$ 413.986,07.

The city government has made four partial payments, minus two fines provided for in the contracts, for a total of some R$500,000. According to the labor secretary, IDELT sued the city for the difference.

Vera Bussinger afirmou que apenas notificou a secretaria da necessidade de saldar contratos pendentes. “Apresentamos a planilha do que já estava comprometido. Mesmo com o fim do contrato, completamos o treinamento da turma. Ficamos até abril”, explicou. “Não se pode dizer que temos contratos somente com administrações do PSDB.”


Ela contou que foi contratada por administradores do PT. Segundo Vera, o Idelt foi chamado para dar cursos profissionalizantes na administração de Marta Suplicy, entre abril e setembro de 2004. Outra contratação foi realizada por Vitor Buaiz, quando estava à frente do governo do Espírito Santo e ainda era do PT. Na época, um dos sócios do Idelt, Carlos Alberto Tavares Carmona, era diretor da São Paulo Transportes (SPTrans), que cuida do transporte público na cidade.


Em 2006, cada uma das 31 subprefeituras paulistanas teria 15 calceteiros, que deveriam passar por 16 dias de aulas teóricas e práticas. O curso, dado pelo Idelt, foi uma parceria entre as secretarias municipais do Trabalho, de Assistência e Desenvolvimento Social, e de Coordenação das Subprefeituras, segundo divulgação feita pela Assessoria de Imprensa da Prefeitura em 16 de março de 2006.


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