The little banner at the top right corner of the paraiba.com.br website costs the taxpayers of Brazil US$ 30,084.61 per month. According to the contract, this is for the “Provision of a promotional banner branded by the Senate with a direct link to its web page at www.paraiba.com.br over twelve (12) consecutive months.”
The scoop came from the Contraditorium blog, where Carlos Cardoso published the results of his investigation: the Brazilian Senate pays a monthly fee of US$ 30,084.61 for a 120×60 pixel advertising banner, a generous deal with a not very known website. The site www.paraiba.com.br [pt] is number 208,667 in the Alexa ranking, in which Contraditorium itself is far ahead: 98,637. Cardoso claims that this is not the first year of the agreement:
O contrato atual foi assinado 15/5/2008, mas não é o primeiro. Em 12/4/2007 assinaram um nos mesmos termos, mas custando apenas R$40.000,00 POR MÊS. Pelo visto os custos de manter sites online aumentaram bastante.
The current contract was signed on 15/5/2008, but it was not the first one. On 12/4/2007 a deal under the same terms was made, but costing only R$40.000,00 [US$ 25,039.17] A MONTH. It seems that the cost of maintaining online websites has increased steadily.
The links to the above mentioned contracts, both the first and the second, are available on the Internet. However, they have been modified since the leak on the blogosphere and the Portuguese word for “monthly” has been deleted. The original version of the latest contract as pictured below can still be seen in cache. ‘Monthly’ appears in capital letters below the amount of the contract (R$ 48,000.00 Mensal):
Bloggers were quickly following up. Blog de Aluguel [pt] went further with the investigations and discovered a few noteworthy facts about the domain owner (Henrique Cirne, from Era Digital Internet Graphics LTDA, according to Registro.br). Apparently, the group also owns the below domains:
Sim amiguinho, dominio de senador, eleito pelo democratas e tudo mais.
Yes dear friend, the domain belongs to a senator, elected by the Democratic [Party] and so on.
At least one of them hosts Efrain Morais’ personal webpage [pt]. He is an elected Senator [pt] for the state of Paraíba. Mário Aragão [pt] gives more details about the people mentioned in the domain names:
Quem é Efraim Morais? É um senador do DEMo (Paraíba). O mesmo que articula no Senado a criação de aproximadamente 90 “cargos de confiança” (sem concurso) de R$ 10.000 por mês. Quem é Ronaldo Cunha Lima? É pai do atual governador da Paraíba, Cássio Cunha Lima (ambos do PSDB). Deve ser coincidência!!!
Who is Efraim Morais? He is a DEMo Party (Paraiba) senator. The same one who articulates in the Senate the creation of approximately 90 R$ 10,000 (US$ 6,260.158) a month “positions of trust” (without civil service competitive examinations) . Who is Ronaldo Cunha Lima? He is the father of the current governor of Paraiba, Cássio Cunha Lima (both from the PSDB [Party]). It must be coincidence!
Manoel Netto, from T3cnocracia [pt], pointed out that beyond its astonishing price, the contract may also be illegal because it infringes Law 8,666, also known as the “Public Tender Law”:
Deixando claro, só se pode contratar um serviço sem licitação quando o mesmo for tão específico que não haja competição no mercado. Mesmo que fosse o caso do bannerzinho ser maravilhosamente único, serviços de publicidade são especificamente proibídos de serem tratados como inexigíveis, portanto, esse contrato não deveria ser aprovado, certo?
To make it clear, it is only possible to contract a service without bidding when it is so specific that there is no competition in the market. Even if it was the case that the little banner was so wonderfully unique, advertising services are specifically forbidden from being treated as exempt from bidding, therefore the contract should not be approved, right?
The more bloggers investigate, the more irregularities they find. Cardoso [pt] published an update:
The first link above takes to deal for the same type of contract with another not so popular website. Similarly, the second one is a US$ 30,084.61 contract for “promotional banner branded by the Senate with a link address to its webpage (www.senado.gov.br)”. However, Paraibana Radio and TV does not even seem to have a website.
The debate has just started and the mainstream media is still behind. Many bloggers now are “concentrating efforts” and a sense of humour to get a similar deal with the Senators, with many publishing the banner on the left, which reads: “Dear Senators: Advertise on my site”.