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UPDATED: 10:37, May 25, 2007
Lula confirms new energy minister to replace scandal-hit Rondeau
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Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva confirmed Marcio Zimmermann as the new Minister of Mining and Energy to replace Silas Rondeau, said Brazil's Congress leaders on Thursday.

Zimmermann is currently the ministry's Secretary of Planning and Energy Development. His nomination, according to the sources, was presented to the president in a meeting on Wednesday with leaders of the Brazilian Democratic Movement Party, and Rondeau.

Zimmermann, like Rondeau, has taken various key positions in the electric energy sector over the past 20 years.

Rondeau resigned on Tuesday amid a bid-rigging and embezzlement scandal in which he was accused by police of receiving a bribe of 100,000 reals (about 51,000 U.S. dollars) from building firm Gautama in the latter's bid to obtain a government contract.

Rondeau denied the charges but said he was resigning to prevent the controversy from hurting the government's plan to provide energy to the poor.

In a broader crackdown named Operation Razor last week, the police arrested about 50 politicians, lobbyists and business figures on suspicion of embezzling money from government contracts.

Lula lamented Rondeau's resignation and believes he was a good man, said the congressmen that attended Wednesday's meeting with Lula.

Source: Xinhua

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