The testimonies heard in Curitiba today (06/19) reinforce that Petrobras had the appropriate control mechanisms, a fact that helps take to pieces a systemic corruption idea as the Car Wash prosecutors declare in the Criminal Proceeding No. 5063130-17.2016.4.04.7000. This view is based on theses which are incompatible with the Brazilian Constitution, theses that try to point Lula as responsible exclusively because of his position as Brazilian President at the time.
The testimonies of the KPMG Auditores Independentes members Bernardo Moreira Peixoto Neto, and Manuel Fernandes Rodrigues, confirm the previous official letter sent by the company to the 13th Federal Criminal Court of Curitiba, in which they emphasize that “the auditing group did not find activities involving the former Brazilian President, Mr. Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s participation in Petrobras’s administration that could represent corruption or be defined as unlawful actions.” Having effective experience auditing publicly held corporations, both of them declared that the activities at Petrobras, from 2006 to 2011, were performed independently, complying with CVM and SEC criteria, both international standards.
According to Peixoto Neto and Rodigues, besides reviewing the financial statements, the audit was also performed in compliance with the SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley Act) standards, which consist in analyzing the internal control structures and reviewing the compliance procedures following the rules established by the US Public Company Accounting Board (PCAOB). KPMG has understood that Petrobras operated in compliance with these controls. Around 100 people participated in each auditing procedure, which also involved specialists of various departments, besides the direct staff. The reports were presented every three months to the oil company’s Audit Committee and once a year to the Board of Directors. When the defense asked if there were signs of a “systemic fraud”, Peixoto Neto was clear: “We did not detect anything materially important.”
The witness Paulo José Machado, an Ernest & Young member, confirmed that the company audited the oil company from 2003 to 2005, also in an independent manner and “with a high standard of diligence”. He made it clear that Petrobras started to demand the SOX standard right after that.
Paulo César Farah Muniz, engineer and Petrobras employee since 1986, who participated in several of the company’s bidding processes, stated that all the procedures complied with what is provided in the specific legislation and the internal purchase manual, and the contracts were subjected to internal control organizations. He actually reported that the amount of the winning bid was under Petrobras’s estimate, regarding the Comperj bidding case, and also under the oil company’s usual margin.
Cristiano Zanin Martins