signed contract for the purchase of the vaccine Indian anticovid Covaxin will be “on hold” until some complaints of irregularities in these negotiations are clarified.
“It is not appropriate to import these vaccines at this time,” said the minister, referring to the Covaxin antigen, produced by the Indian company Bharat Biotech, which is being targeted by a Senate commission investigating the management of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro in the face of a pandemic that has already killed more than 515,000 Brazilians.
According to Queiroga, the execution of the contract has been “suspended” temporarily in order to act with “greater transparency” and allow time for the contract to be reviewed, which provides for the acquisition of 20 million doses at a total price of 320 million dollars.
In this period, time will also be given for the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) to pronounce on the the effectiveness of Covaxin, something that this regulatory body has not yet done and which is decisive to allow importation.
The head of the Comptroller General, Wagner Rosario, also confirmed that this body will make a “legal” review of all the conditions established in that contract, which have generated doubts and even a request raised to the Supreme Court to investigate President Jair Bolsonaro himself on this matter.
Among other suspicious points, the negotiation agreed that a Singapore-based firm should receive part of the payment even though it wasn’t in the contract.
In addition, a Brazilian businessman investigated for corruption participated as an “intermediary” in the negotiations. and owner of a company that has already “sold” drugs to the government that it never delivered.
Regarding this business, the head of imports of the Ministry of Health, Ricardo Miranda, denounced before the Senate commission that he was subjected to “atypical pressure” to approve and accelerate the purchase of these vaccines, which he denied due to those irregularities in the contract.
The official is the brother of the pro-government deputy Luis Miranda, who in turn affirmed that last March, days after the contract was signed of purchase intention, he personally informed President Bolsonaro himself about the matter.
According to the legislator, the president admitted that it was “serious”, but said that it was “a roll” of the deputy Ricardo Barros, head of the group ruling party in the Lower House and who must now testify before the Senate commission that investigates the management of the pandemic.
This Monday, in the face of the complaint that Bolsonaro learned of an issue that could involve a “serious case of corruption” and did not act accordingly, a group of senators asked the Supreme Court to open an investigation into the president’s conduct and to clarify whether he may have committed prevarication and other crimes.