CPI denounces MG energy company rigging. Zema

For two months, possible irregularities in the management of Companhia Energética de Minas Gerais (Cemig), during the Romeu Zema (Novo) government, have been investigated by a Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) of the Minas Gerais Legislative Assembly. There are reports of favoring companies and people close to the governor and his party, as well as irregular hiring of large service and espionage providers.

Company defeated in a bid was subcontracted in sequence for the same activity

In an interview with his ally on TV Record, deputy Mauro Tramonte (Republicans), Romeu Zema said that the CPI is “taking a tiny little thing”. Below, Brasil de Fato brings four examples of “tiny things” cited in the investigations.

Tiny Thing 1: Subcontracting a company that lost a bid

In February 2020, in a bidding process for Cemig’s telemarketing services, the company AeC, founded by the former Secretary of Economic Development of Zema, Cássio Rocha de Azevedo, had been defeated by its competitor Audac. However, months later, without starting the service, Cemig suspended Audac’s contract.

In February 2021, the company signed a contract worth R$1.1 billion with the technology transnational IBM, without bidding, for consulting services in digital transformation, development and operation of a customer service model, by 10-year period.

On August 30, the superintendent of the Shared Services Center at Cemig, Wantuil Dionísio Teixeira, told the CPI that IBM had subcontracted the company AeC, previously defeated in the tender, to provide telemarketing services.

Between February 7, 2020 and June 9, 2021, Cemig signed 34 contracts without a bidding process, totaling R$ 1.185 billion

Former commercial relations superintendent at Cemig, Sílvia Cristiane Martins Batista, acknowledged that it is not common for a company that has been defeated in a recent tender to be subcontracted for the same activity.

To the CPI, the president of Audac, José Roque, said that he charges Cemig, in court, with an indemnity of R$13.5 million, as compensation for the investment made and the contracts he failed to make with other companies.

“A new practice was inaugurated in the Zema administration at Cemig: the guarantee of hiring those who lose the tender. IBM does not have in its portfolio any excellence in customer service that would justify Cemig having built the steps to reach IBM. It should be embarrassing, we are facing the subcontracting of those who lost the bid”, criticized Deputy Beatriz Cerqueira (PT), a member of the CPI.

Tiny Thing 2: Parallel Management

The investigations have pointed out, in several circumstances, suspicions of the government’s use of the company to favor companies and close people, with suspicions of interference by Zema’s party.

An example is what would have happened with Exec, a human resources company that was responsible for selecting the president of Cemig, Reynaldo Passanezi Filho, in January 2020, and three directors. Last year, the same company advised the Novo party in recruiting candidates for mayor in eight Brazilian capitals. Two Exec partners, entrepreneurs Rodrigo Foz Forte and Carlos Eduardo Altona, are affiliated with Novo.

The deputy director of people management at Cemig, Hudson Félix de Almeida, confessed to the CPI that Exec was hired without a bidding process and without going through the Board of Directors. Cemig’s relationship with Exec was only formalized after the service had been performed.

President of Cemig hired himself a coaching for R$ 156 thousand

To select the company’s president, Exec would have sent a proposal to the attention of businessman Evandro Veiga Negrão de Lima Jr., who is not linked to Cemig, but is institutional affairs secretary for Novo, Zema’s party. Evandro Veiga is the same one who, in 2018, donated a private plane to the governor’s campaign.

Another example was found by Congresswoman Beatriz. Last week, she reported that, between February 7, 2020 and June 9, 2021, Cemig signed 34 contracts that, supposedly, would not require bidding, totaling R$ 1.185 billion. Of the total, nine contracts were formalized and paid after the service was performed, a practice known as “convalidation”. One of these contracts, according to the deputy, was with the law firm Lefosse, which already had Cemig’s legal director, Eduardo Soares, as a partner.

Tiny Thing 3: Espionages

Another company whose relationship was only formalized after the “service was provided” is Kroll Associates Brasil Ltda, specialized in investigations in the corporate sphere. Kroll is the same company that, a decade and a half ago, was investigated by the Federal Police in Operation Chacal, for spying on Telecom Italia and members of the federal government with illegal wiretapping and theft and sharing of data protected by fiscal secrecy, at the banker’s request Daniel Dantas, from the Opportunity Group.

Cemig technicians, who questioned the facilitation of contracts without bidding, would have been spied on by Kroll. This was said by the former holder of Cemig’s Administrative Law Department, lawyer Daniel Polignano Godoy, in a testimony on 9 September.

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Daniel also said that, at dawn on December 4, 2020, Cemig’s data was copied from his professional computer by a Kroll employee, accompanied by a member of the Legal Department. According to the CPI, Kroll worked for five months without a contract at the Company.

“We need to call the Brazilian Bar Association to take legal action on this swindle, since the same professional secrecy was violated by Cemig, when it invaded, in the dead of night, its employee’s computer,” said deputy Professor Cleiton ( PSB), Vice President of the Commission.

Tiny Thing 4: “Puerile Hiring”

The general coordinator of the Energy Industry Workers Union of Minas Gerais (Sindieletro-MG), Emerson Andrada, also highlights what he calls “childish contracts”, that is, they are not relevant to the type of service that Cemig pays.

Emerson recalls the case of hiring, for R$ 156,000, coach and psychologist Wladimir Ganzelevitch, from São Paulo, to advise Cemig’s president, Reynaldo Passanezi Filho, for a period of two years.

“According to information we received, this psychologist was already a coaching consultant for Mr. Passanezi and, upon taking over Cemig, he hires him as a kind of personal service to the presidency. If he decides to hire a psychologist or coach, he has every right, but let him do it with his own money, not using public assets”, evaluates Emerson Andrada.

Anticipation of privatization

The union warns that the illegalities denounced in the CPI are not just misconduct of government or company members, but a methodology by the Zema government to facilitate and accelerate the privatization process of Cemig, which is the most valuable company from Minas Gerais in terms of financial and one of the most profitable in the country in the electricity sector.

Sindieletro called this methodology by the Zema government “anticipation of privatization”, which involves three sequential operations.

The first is to cut workers’ wages and other rights as much as possible. The second is to reduce purchases, maintenance expenses and customer service, so that, although precarious, the company’s work continues to make profits for shareholders. Thirdly, with the worsening in service, the population is increasingly dissatisfied with the services, so the government preaches privatization as a solution to the problem.

“The governor makes Cemig worse and points out to the population that, if it privatizes, it will get better. It is a worldwide known tactic and one that Governor Zema, the main person responsible for Minas Gerais’ heritage, is carrying out without any shame,” explains Emerson Andrada. According to him, this methodology makes it possible to reduce the company’s price for potential buyers: “if Cemig had to be sold three years ago, when Zema took over, it would be negotiated at a higher price”.

Andrada reinforces that the population is the one who loses, whether with poor service provision, or with the sale of public assets at low prices, or because, with privatization, energy bills tend to become even more expensive.

“The company that buys Cemig will immediately try to recover the high investment made in the purchase of the company. In practice, recovering the high investment means increasing energy tariffs to the maximum. And, without a doubt, the tariff, which is already very high, due to the red flag, will increase much more”, he predicts.

Source: BoF Minas Gerais

Edition: Elis Almeida and Sarah Fernandes

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