On October 6, 2018, one day before the first round of elections, a Federal Police team that was deployed to work on the elections in the interior of Maranhão came across a group of three men with a bag containing R$5,800. in cash and campaign materials from the then candidate for Federal Deputy André Fufuca (PP-MA).
Upon seeing the police, one of the men threw the bag of money into a drain. The case, revealed by Brasil de Fato, brought to light a group of people, including public servants, local businesspeople and supporters who were talking openly in Whatsapp groups about buying votes and values on the eve of the first round of that year’s elections.
In addition to the three men, the following day, the PF also identified a public servant from Santa Luzia who, upon seeing the police, abandoned the car he was in and got into a vehicle that was in the service of the Electoral Court to “ask for a ride”. The case caught the attention of agents who, when searching the vehicle he was in, found R$2,500 in cash and saints from the then candidate and now Sports Minister appointed by the center, André Fufuca.
All four men caught that election weekend gave statements to the Federal Police. None officially worked for André Fufuca’s campaign that year. But, faced with the contradictions and inconsistencies in the statements, in addition to all the material and money seized, the Federal Police opened an investigation.
Contacted through his press office, the Minister of Sports, André Fufuca, stated that “he does not condone any illegal act, is not responsible for the actions of third parties and trusts that justice will clarify all the facts”
Check out below what all four people caught with André Fufuca’s money and campaign material told the PF on the weekend of the elections:
Marcus Vinícius Sales
The businessman, who is an event producer, admitted to being the owner of the cash found that night. In his version, however, the amount would be to pay for bands he had hired and part of it would even have come from a pharmacy owned by his mother-in-law. He denied working for André Fufuca’s campaign, but stated that Francisco Vieira, who was with them, worked for the parliamentarian. He also denied knowing “Dona Vanda”, the owner of the residence in which the PF located the three outside.
Francisco Vieira da Silva (In the written statement, the clerk recorded the wrong surname)
The businessman, owner of a car store in the region, said that he worked “without financial compensation” for Fufuca’s campaign, just out of “friendship” but that he had no role in the campaign. Asked by the PF about the “coincidence” of there being several cars with Fufuca’s campaign material, including his own, at Vanda’s residence on the eve of the election, Francisco said it was “a meeting of friends”.
Caio Vieira da Silva
Then 18 years old, Caio Vieira da Silva said that he “walked” with Marcus Vinícius in the morning in Santa Inês, and that in the evening they went to Santa Luzia for dinner at a steakhouse. He stated that the money belonged to the businessman to pay for bands and that Fufuca’s campaign material found in the truck had been in it for days.
Josiel Sousa Silva (public servant caught on October 7th by the PF)
Josiel told the PF that he was a community health agent for the Family Health program, and that he had never worked on electoral campaigns. He admitted that he had R$2,500 in his pocket when he left the house of the father of a former mayor of the municipality that day. He stated that the money was related to the sale of a gold chain that had taken place the previous week and, when asked about the saints that were in the car he was driving, he stated that he had not seen them. The PF also asked why he parked the truck he was driving on the street after seeing a police approach in another vehicle and went to get a ride in a car that was in the service of the Electoral Court, and he stated that he “chose on his own to leave the vehicle in front of the forum and began to travel by hitchhiking”.
Editing: Rodrigo Durão Coelho