The Oversight & Control Committee of the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Congress, decided Wednesday, April 30, to hold a public hearing on allegations raised by the magazine Carta Capital in its April 23 cover story according to which Previ (the pension fund for employees of Banco do Brasil) could lose telecoms holdings worth 2 billion Brazilian Reals because of a dispute with Opportunity. Brasil Telecom, Previ, Anatel, TIW, CVM (the securities regulator) and Opportunity will be called to testify at the hearing. The motion to convene a hearing was tabled by Deputy Eduardo Cunha (PPB, Rio de Janeiro), a former president of Telerj (now Telemar) and also a member of the Media Committee. No date has been set for the hearing yet.
According to Dep. Cunha, the idea of the hearing is to compare the various parties' versions of the situation faced by Previ and, among other things, decide whether to set up a special commission of inquiry into the privatization of Telebras, as demanded by Dep. Jaime Martins Filho (PL, Minas Gerais). Alternatively it could provide useful input for a commission of inquiry into allegations that former Banco do Brasil director Ricardo Sergio de Oliveira took bribes to put together the consortium that became Telemar, as demanded by Dep. Júlio Delgado (PPS, Minas Gerais). This motion has 185 signatures and is next on the list of proposed commissions being analyzed by Speaker João Paulo Cunha (PT, São Paulo). According to reliable sources, the Speaker agrees that this is an important matter and intends to back the motion to hold this particular inquiry. However, he doesn't want it to hinder passage of the pension and tax reforms prioritized by the Executive. Both the Presidency and the Communications Ministry are reportedly eager to investigate allegations of misdemeanors during the privatization of Telebras but there are doubts about political timing.