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New Brazil labour minister gets ban for not paying chauffeurs

Brazil’s President Michel Temer has defended his party’s decision to appoint Cristiane Brasil as the next minister of labour despite a court ruling banning her from the position after she was convicted of failing to pay her private chauffeurs.

The government is now due to appeal the Supreme Court ruling, one of Temer’s closest advisers has told Agencia Brasil. Temer has already said he will respect the decision of his Brazil Labor Party (PTB), whatever the court decides.

On Tuesday, the president briefly met with the party’s national leader, Roberto Jefferson; PTB’s leader in the lower chamber, Jovair Arantes, and Brasil herself.

The night before, a regional tribunal in Rio de Janeiro rejected an appeal against Brasil’s suspension, compelling the government to suspend the oath ceremony planned for Tuesday afternoon.

Brasil was ordered to pay a fine of about US$18,750 as compensation to two private drivers she had hired for several months but failed to remunerate.

Temer’s cabinet has been plagued with corruption allegations, and in May was placed under investigation in a massive probe into accusations of graft.

Many ministers have been accused of wrongdoing by executives of the engineering group SA in plea-bargain testimonies.

Temer has vowed to suspend any ministers charged with corruption and dismiss those who are indicted in the sprawling scandal centered on the Brazilian construction giant, Odebrecht.

The company has admitted paying millions in bribes to officials across Latin America in exchange for lucrative contracts.

The president has also been implicated, but Congress has so far refused to lift his immunity.

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