Covaxin’s contract inspector at the Ministry of Health, Regina Célia Oliveira, delivered a document to Covid’s Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) stating that she suggested the termination of the purchase on June 24, three months after the company delayed the delivery of the first doses and President Jair Bolsonaro has been warned about an alleged corruption scheme involving the negotiation.
The government decided to suspend the purchase on June 29, but did not terminate the contract. The purchase of Covaxin vaccine is the main target of Covid’s CPI, which suspects a corruption scheme in the Ministry of Health. Need Medicines, the company that brokered the negotiation with the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech, is being investigated by the commission. As shown by Estadão, the government signed the contract, on February 25, for a price of US$ 15 per dose, 50% higher than the initial offer price, of US$ 10 per unit.
The inspector was summoned to testify at the CPI for having given approval for the import process, in March, even after the technicians verified errors and inconsistencies in the documentation sent by Necessidade. On Tuesday, she said that at the time she found “nothing unusual” and that she gave the authorization considering only the number of doses informed in relation to the contract. In the testimony, she reported that she suggested the termination of the contract after charges made to Necessidade. The document was delivered on Friday, 9th, to the CPI.
In the report signed by Regina Célia, the inspector reported successive requests to the company about the delay in sending the doses. The Ministry of Health closed a contract for 20 million doses of Covaxin. The schedule foresaw the shipment in five stages of 4 million units, with the first delivery on March 17th. Anvisa only approved the import of the first shipment on June 4, but established a series of limitations for the use of these immunization agents in Brazil. After approval, the company presented a new schedule to the Ministry, predicting to deliver the first stage only 10 days after the approval of the Import License (LI) by the regulated agency, without an established date.
Brazil, however, did not receive any dose of Covaxin. Higher prices, pressure on the ministry to streamline imports and the disparity in the treatment given to other laboratories, such as Butantan and Pfizer, led Covid’s CPI to suspect a corruption scheme and ask for evidence involving contacts and movements financial.
Deputy Paulo Pimenta (PT-RS) said on Friday that the conversation between deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF), public servant Luis Ricardo Fernandes Miranda and president Jair Bolsonaro, on March 20, was recorded. On Twitter, the PT member wrote that “it’s 50 minutes of a lot of information and I would download it”. To people close to him, Pimenta said that Miranda showed an excerpt of the recording to a restricted group of parliamentarians, in Brasília. The information is from the newspaper The State of São Paulo.
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