Fabiano Silveira, Brazil's transparency, supervision and control minister, quit on 30 May after secret recordings of his conversation with Senate President Renan Calheiros were leaked by a television channel. The conversation reportedly suggests that Silveira tried to influence Brazil's ongoing probe into widespread corruption.
Silveira becomes the second minister in acting President Michel Temer's government to resign. Last week, the planning minister Romero Juca, resigned after a similar recording implicating him was made public, Reuters reported. Brazil's two-year old investigation into graft involving billions of dollars has implicated dozens of politicians from the acting president's PMDB party as well as Dilma Rousseff's Workers' Party, and led to the arrests of many top corporate executives.
In the recordings aired on TV Globo, Silveira can be heard talking to Calheiros and advising him on how best to defend himself from the probe, according to reports. The recordings, where Silveira's also heard criticising the prosecutors of the case, were reportedly made at Calheiros's home three months before Silveira joined the government as a minister.
According to the TV Globo report, Silveira spoke to the prosecutors of the Petrobras investigation several times to glean information they may have on Calheiros and then reported it back to the senate president, Reuters reported. At the time of the conversation, Silveira was a counsellor on the National Justice Counsel, a judicial watchdog agency.
On Monday, a government source told Reuters that Silveira would continue in the job "for now" without any other explanation. A spokesperson for Silveira said that while conversations took place, their excerpts were taken out of context.
"Temer's initial decision was that Silveira can continue in his post for now because he did not interfere in the investigation, he was just giving Calheiros advice," the spokesperson said.
Sergio Machado, a former executive in the transportation wing of Petrobras, who is under investigation and is now a state's witness, reportedly made several secret recordings of his meetings with politicians in exchange for leniency from prosecutors.
On Monday, employees of the Ministry of Transparency resigned from their posts and protested at the presidential palace demanding that Silveira step down, and called on Temer to reinstate the office of the comptroller general. The employees also prevented Silveira from entering the ministry building and then washed the facade of the building with soap to symbolise the need for Temer's government to clean up its act, Reuters reported.