Brazil's Vice President Jose Alencar said on Monday that he supported investigations into the role of Energy Minister Silas Rondeau in an embezzlement-taking scandal.
However, Alencar, who took over the country's presidency during President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's trip to Paraguay, said he could not fire the minister only because there have been charges against him.
He added that it was up to Lula, as well as to the minister himself, to decide whether he should remain in office or not during investigations.
"I cannot dismiss him from the Ministry, because the president is Lula," Alencar said.
Lula, who was on an official visit to Paraguay accompanied by Rondeau, said he would not make comments on the case before he returns to Brazil on Monday.
According to the Federal Police, there is evidence of Rondeau's involvement in the scheme to facilitate the construction firm Gautama in public bidding.
Rondeau allegedly accepted 100,000 reais (51,000 U.S. dollars) from entrepreneur Zuleido Veras, Gautama's owner.
In a so-called Operation Razor on May 17, the Federal Police arrested 48 suspects, including a former state governor and other politicians.