In a tumultuous session of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI), which is investigating alleged government failures in managing the covid-19 pandemic, Luis Ricardo Miranda, import head of the Ministry of Health’s Logistics Department, claimed to have suffered unusual pressures from his colleagues. even on weekends, to finalize the purchase procedures for Covaxin, a vaccine from the Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech.
The employee informed that, during the Covaxin purchase process, some flaws were identified, such as the divergence of names of companies involved in the negotiation and the lack of documents, including the certificate of good practices.
Luis Ricardo Miranda also pointed out divergent points between the contract signed with the Ministry of Health and the documents received later, such as the forecast of 100% advance payment, a procedure that was not provided for in the contract.
The Ministry of Health official reported that he was pressured by his superiors with “constant questions” about the routine and progress of the process. He argued that, as he could not protest to his superiors, since pressure was coming from them, he decided to turn to his brother, federal deputy Luis Miranda.
During the more than eight hours of the CPI session, Luis Ricardo Miranda also presented audios about an alleged request for bribes in the Covaxin purchase process.
On Wednesday, Federal Deputy Luis Miranda and his brother, an official at the Brazilian Ministry of Health, Luis Ricardo Miranda, reported to the media that they had personally alerted the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, to alleged irregularities in the purchase contract for the company. Covaxin.
According to the newspaper Estado de S.Paulo, which had access to documents from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Brazilian government bought Covaxin for a price 1,000% more expensive than, six months earlier, the manufacturer had announced.
For that reason, opposition lawmakers accused the government of corruption, allegations denied by Bolsonaro.
The Brazilian government signed a contract worth 1.6 billion reais (about 270 million euros) for the purchase of 20 million doses of the Indian vaccine on February 25th. However, the expected deadlines for the delivery of the product are delayed and the regulatory agency in Brazil only approved on June 4 its import with restrictions.
The acquisition of Covaxin was the only one carried out indirectly by the Government of Brazil, that is, through an intermediary company, Need Medicines.
The vaccine has also been questioned because it was the most expensive available in the country.
For senator Fabiano Contarato, given the facts presented at the CPI, there is a need to dismiss Jair Bolsonaro. The senator said he hoped that the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Arthur Lira, would carry out one of the more than 130 requests for removal from the chief executive.
According to Contarato, the CPI has to respond to the accusations presented.
“Brazilians need [de] open the eyes. The complaint comes from someone who is from the base of the Government,” said the senator, referring to deputy Luis Miranda, who denounced the irregularities, despite being part of Bolsonaro’s support base.
Brazil totals 511,142 deaths and more than 18.3 million positive cases of covid-19.
The covid-19 pandemic caused at least 3,903,064 victims worldwide, resulting from more than 179,931,620 officially diagnosed cases of infection, according to the balance made by the French agency AFP.
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