The transaction of 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s vaccine has become a headache for Bolsonaro due to allegations of violations.
The Brazilian Minister of Health said on Tuesday that under the guidance of the Federal Auditor General CGU, Brazil will suspend a US$324 million Indian COVID-19 vaccine contract, which has put President Jair Bolsonaro in trouble due to violations.
The purchase of 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin injections has become a headache for Bolsonaro after the whistleblower made public the suspected violations. A health ministry official said he informed the president of his concerns.
As the number of COVID-19 deaths in Brazil climbed to more than 500,000, Bolsonaro’s popularity has waned, but he denied any wrongdoing and said on Monday that he was not aware of any violations. But thorny issues will not go away, and may cause trouble for him before next year’s presidential election.
Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Queroga said at a press conference that his team will investigate these allegations during the suspension.
The Ministry of Health said in a statement: “According to CGU’s preliminary analysis, there is no violation of the contract, but in order to comply with the regulations, the Ministry of Health chose to suspend the contract.”
Earlier Thursday, CNN Brazil reported that the ministry had decided to cancel the contract.
Brazilian federal prosecutors have begun investigating the transaction, citing the relatively high price, fast negotiation speed and regulatory approval pending approval. A team in the Senate is also investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.
A series of violations
In a speech to a congressional committee investigating Bolsonaro’s response to the pandemic, Luis Miranda, the representative of the House of Commons, said late on Friday that he had a meeting with the president in March where he described the reasons for the purchase. A series of violations of the Covaxin vaccine produced by Bharat Biotech in India.international Limited Company
During the conversation, as Miranda described, Bolsonaro accused his leader of the House of Commons, Ricardo Barros, of interfering with the Ministry of Health, but did not stop the purchase.
Luis Ricardo Miranda (Luis Ricardo Miranda), the brother of the congressman and an official of the Ministry of Health, told the senators that when analyzing the documents related to the purchase of the vaccine, they found information about the original contract between Bharat Biotech and the company Does not match. unit. He mentioned that some of the differences are the payment method, the number of doses and the instructions of the intermediary company.
One of the main opposition senators of the group filed a formal criminal case against Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court on Monday. Senator Randolfe Rodrigues stated that he hopes the court will investigate “serious allegations” and find out why Bolsonaro “has not taken any action after being informed of the massive corruption plan of the Ministry of Health.”
This is also the first time a senator investigating the government’s response to the pandemic has investigated allegations of corruption involving close allies of the government. So far, they are more concerned about the delay in vaccine procurement and the government’s touted unproven treatments for COVID.