The alleged irregularity in a million-dollar purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin by the Government of Brazil is the latest stone that has slipped into the shoe of President Jair Bolsonaro, the subject of an investigation in the Senate, of dozens of requests for ‘impeachment’ and growing protests over his dire management of the pandemic.
On Monday, three senators filed a “prevarication” complaint against him with the Supreme Court for failing to report suspected fraud in the ‘Coxavin’ case.
Such a lawsuit could cause the downfall of a president, but experts think it is virtually impossible for it to happen. Mainly, because the one who must decide if Bolsonaro is investigated and tried is the Attorney General, Augusto Aras, one of his allies.
But if it is another reason for wear.
Everything exploded last week with the revelations of the brothers Luis Claudio and Luis Ricardo Miranda, one federal deputy and the other former head of the import sector of the Ministry of Health, in the Commission that has been investigating the Executive for two months for possible omissions due to the pandemic, which has already left more than 510,000 dead.
The deputy confirmed to the senators that he informed Bolsonaro in March of an alleged illegal scheme in the Ministry of Health for the millionaire purchase of the Indian immunizer.
The Miranda brothers’ testimony begins at the CPI – Luis Ricardo and Luis Claudio Miranda talk to the commission members about the case involving the Covaxin purchase operationhttps://t.co/YxwNHzSG2npic.twitter.com/2R0RDU4GB9
— Luis Nassif (@luisnassif) June 25, 2021
It was his brother, Luis Ricardo, who would have warned of these irregularities by suffering an “abnormal” pressure to sign an anticipated bill of 45 million dollars for the vaccine from the Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech, the most expensive one negotiated by the Executive: 15 dollars a dose, four times the value of AstraZeneca’s.
The official realized that the documents contained a Singapore company that was not in the contract and that it would be a front.
Miranda did not sign. No dose of Covaxin – which does not have an emergency use authorization from the National Health Surveillance Agency – was delivered in Brazil.
“The government has a lot to explain. Why buy such an expensive vaccine offered before for less than a tenth of the price? Why was the import document issued by a company in Singapore that was not in the contract? Why demand an advance payment “, it is asked in an editorial Or Balloon.
The Miranda brothers say that during the meeting with Bolsonaro at his residence in Brasilia, the Palacio de la Alvorada, the president told them that he knew that Deputy Ricardo Barros, leader of the pro-government caucus, was involved in this case and considered it “serious. “.
However, Bolsonaro did not present the case to the Police, and that led the senators to denounce him before the Supreme Court, because they consider that the alleged omission of the president occurred “due to his own participation in the criminal scheme or due to the need to shield his friends.”
For his part, the president confirmed the meeting with the Miranda, but defended himself saying that he cannot know what is happening in each of the ministries.
“They accuse me of almost everything, even buying a vaccine that did not reach Brazil,” he said.
Speech against corruption
The far-rightist came to power in 2018 thanks in large part to his fierce anti-corruption discourse, and he often boasts that in his more than two years in office there have been no scandals in his government.
But lately bad news has come to him in that regard. Last week, the then Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, resigned, after being the subject of two investigations for his alleged involvement in the illegal logging and trafficking of wood.
Salles was one of his most controversial ministers and he defended him tooth and nail.
Added to all this is the growing discontent in the streets, where they have organized massive demonstrations against him. This Saturday, the Brazilians will come out again to demand their resignation.
And on Wednesday, the opposition parties will present a super request for ‘impeachment’, which is added to the hundreds of requests of this type that already exist. None have managed to get ahead because they are rejected by Arthur Lira, president of the Chamber of Deputies, and also an ally of Bolsonaro.
The outlook is increasingly darkening for the president, who intends to run in the next elections in 2022. A latest poll showed that in some hypothetical elections, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva would win the first round with 49% of the intention to vote. compared to the 23% that Bolsonaro would get.