While some countries are failing in the fight against corruption, Brazil has achieved a real negative milestone in recent years. The country managed to deconstruct the Car Wash Operation , the most powerful symbol of the fight against corruption ever carried out in the country and also encouraged impunity to public agents who commit acts of administrative impropriety, by sanctioning Statute 14,230 of 03.31.2022. Since then, public agents can no longer be held responsible for damages caused by recklessness, negligence or malpractice, since only deceit (the intention to do or not to do) characterizes impropriety in the corresponding crimes typified by law. An open door for the "I don't know" people... For those who intend to prove anything, they must manage on their own prove that the agent intentionally did the act...
Corruption is a crime in which there is no direct victim or specific victim. Generally, segments of society or even society in general are injured. When, for example, the government buys certain hospital equipment at an overpriced price, because the person responsible for the purchase is gaining a personal advantage, the victims are the people, who pay heavy taxes imposed by the State. When a school should be built in twelve months and after that period, it is still in the staking and foundations stage, the parents who would need it for their children to study, are the ones who suffer, because they will not have said school available for their children's studies. But will these parents hold the authorities accountable for prosecuting those who caused such delay and did not use the resources received properly? Of course not! These parents, most of the time, do not even have information available to know about the school's construction schedule and that their child could go there. The herculean task of defending the treasury, society and seeking to punish those responsible ones remains for the weakened Public Prosecutor's Office.
In cases of corruption and bribery, there will always be the figure of the corruptor(s) and the corrupt(s). There isn’t one without the other. This maxim is of paramount importance to understand that the fight against corruption and bribery has to take into account the two extremes, that is, private initiative and public service. Acting on only one side means significant failure, as the unpunished side will divert its attention to another agent who can sustain the criminal act and thus continue to receive the benefits arising from his/her action.
This is because unlike countries such as the United Kingdom and Chile, Brazil still does not criminalize corruption or bribery in the private sector. What are we waiting for? By the way, on 12.24.2019, Statute 13,964 was enacted, which incorporated into Brazilian law the figure of the whistleblower, that is, the person who, being aware of a crime, can report it to the authorities, being guaranteed: (i) full protection against retaliation, establishing specific sanctions for anyone who retaliates; (ii) exemption from civil or criminal liability in relation to their good faith report; (iii) preservation of identity and (iv) possibility of setting a reward in their favor of up to 5% of the amount recovered, when their information results in the recovery of proceeds from crime against the public administration (government).
Apart from the few dedicated professionals and law students who have had contact with this topic, has society ever heard of it? Was any explanation ever given by the authorities as to what is the channel for reporting? How would the guarantees set out above apply? Has there ever been a case that gained repercussions in the media, originated by a whistleblower? The answer to these and similar questions is NO!
One wonders why such an effective institute in some countries is not encouraged by any of the three powers in Brazil. The impossibility and inefficiency of the State in combating corruption and bribery throughout the country is evident, due to the lack of necessary financial and human resources. The cases that come to public knowledge and the media are the tip of the iceberg that unfortunately plagues Brazil.
The truth is that, as long as there is no political will from those in power to effectively combat corruption, the figure of the whistleblower will remain unknown by society. It is sad, but true, the phrase of a former deputy from Rio de Janeiro, Cidinha Campos: – The corruption of this country is in the DNA! To change this, preventive and repressive actions are needed, but the important role of the whistleblower in winning this game is undeniable.