Brazilian mayor goes on run after running entire town using WhatsApp

Lidiane Leite has gone on the run after being accused of stealing education funds

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A Brazilian mayor has gone on the run after being accused of embezzling public funds and running her government through WhatsApp.

Lidiane Leite is believed to have communicated with officials in the town of Bom Jardim in Brazil's north-west by sending WhatsApp messages.

Meanwhile, she lived the life of luxury in Sao Luiz, the state capital of Maranhão, 277km from the town.

She is also accused of siphoning off $4m (£2.6m) from the town’s schools budget in one of Brazil’s poorest states, according to the BBC.

Her boyfriend, Beto Rocha, has previously been banned from running for mayor in 2012 due to corruption allegations.

The 25-year-old ran in his place and appointed him as her chief adviser. The couple broke up earlier this year and Rocha resigned shortly afterwards.

Leite went on the run shortly after she was named in an investigation into the misuse of state education funds. The town’s education system has now collapsed.

Leite’s successor as mayor, her former deputy, has promised to carry out a full investigation and a state judge has said he will seek an international arrest warrant if she does not hand herself in.

Her lawyer, Carlos Barros, said she was not aware of any wrongdoing.

"She was too young and and inexperienced when she took office," he said "She lacked confidence and delegated many tasks to Mr Rocha."