Sunday, January 17, 2021

Brazilian mayor jailed for corruption

Lidiane Leite, the Brazilian mayor who mistreated her powers over her town using WhatsApp messaging application was arrested by the police for stealing and mishandling millions from its education budget, according to The Independent.

Lidiane Leite was accused of taking the money from the town of Bom Jardim in the country’s north-west went on the run back in August 2015. Leite was finally sentenced to 14 years and one month in prison following a two-and-a-half year legal battle. She was found guilty of taking £4.5m from an education fund.

The 27-year-old directed local officials using WhatsApp while she lived a life of luxury in Sao Luiz, the state capital of Maranhão. After 39 days on the run, she handed herself over to the authorities.

She is still allowed to appeal the decision, the TNH1 news channel reported.

The drama began in 2012 after Humberto Dantas dos Santo, her former boyfriend, who was also known as Beto Rocha, was banned from serving as mayor of the town in 2012 due to corruption allegations against him.

Later on, Leite ran in his place and appointed the 44-year-old as her chief adviser. Meanwhile, Leite lived a glamorous lifestyle full of expensive drinks and luxury cars in Sao Luiz as she communicated with her deputies via a special “Task Force” WhatsApp group.

Dos Santos is still on the run but was also sentenced to 17 years and nine months in prison followed by seven years and four months of house arrest in absentia. At the start of 2015 the couple broke up and Dos Santos resigned. This is when the corruption scheme started to unravel

Bom Jardim is a poor town of around 40,000 people in one of the country’s’ poorest states. Many families rely on the local school to give their children at least one decent meal a day. Locals told the BBC that during Leite’s tenure they never had food at the school which first prompted the investigation into the mayor and her associates.

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