by Ricardo Brito
BRASILIA (Reuters) – The Attorney General’s Office (PGR) asked the Supreme Court (STF) this Friday to open an inquiry against President Jair Bolsonaro for alleged crime of malfeasance in the case involving suspected irregularities in negotiations for the purchase of the Indian Covid-19 Covaxin vaccine.
It will be up to Minister Rosa Weber, of the STF, to decide whether to accept the PGR’s request for the investigation to be formally carried out.
The request to open an investigation against Bolsonaro is a consequence of criminal news sent to the Supreme by opposition senators, who are seeking an investigation into Bolsonaro’s conduct. According to lawmakers, the president took no action after being alerted by deputy Luís Miranda (DEM-DF) and his brother, the Ministry of Health server Luís Ricardo Miranda, about alleged irregularities in the negotiations for the purchase of doses of Covaxin.
When contacted, the Secretary of Communication of the Presidency and the Attorney General of the Union did not immediately respond to the request for comment on the request of the PGR.
In a demonstration, the deputy attorney general of the Republic, Humberto Jacques de Medeiros, said that, despite the “doubt” about the case, it is necessary to clarify what was done after the meeting in which the Miranda brothers personally warned Bolsonaro in the February 20 of suspected irregularities.
“Despite the doubt about the ownership of the duty described by the criminal type of the crime of malfeasance and the absence of evidence that can fill the respective specific subjective element, that is, the satisfaction of interests or feelings inherent to the appointed authors of the fact, clarify what was done after the aforementioned meeting in terms of the adoption of measures”, he said.
The deputy prosecutor determined that the Federal Police carry out investigations within 90 days and that, among other measures: take the testimony of the alleged perpetrators of the fact, request information from the CPI of Covid, TCU and CGU regarding the case; produce evidence, including taking witness testimony.
If opened, this will be the second criminal inquiry that Bolsonaro has responded to while in office. The other, opened last year, concerns suspicions that he tried to interfere in the command of the Federal Police, an episode that led to the departure of the then Minister of Justice and former judge of Operation Lava Jato, Sergio Moro.
Earlier, Rosa Weber had rejected a request from the PGR that it intended to await the end of Covid’s CPI to decide on the request filed by opposition senators to investigate Bolsonaro for malfeasance due to the episode involving the purchase of vaccines from Covaxin.
For the STF minister, the PGR does not act in a conditioned manner when it is provoked, that is, it does not need to wait for the conclusion of the CPI to manifest itself. He also highlighted that, by considering its actions as early as possible, the agency “discharged its constitutional role” in the investigation system.
“At first, I register that the ‘bouncy’ argument does not prosper,” he said.
For the minister, considering that it would be premature to manifest itself, the PGR “discharged its constitutional role”.
“There is no provision in the constitutional text or in the governing legislation providing for the temporary suspension of investigative procedures related to the object of the CPI. Therefore, the forecast that the conclusions of the parliamentary work should be sent to the control bodies does not limit, in any way, its independent and autonomous action”, said the minister.
On Monday, the vice president of the CPI, Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), and two other senators presented a criminal report to the STF to investigate Bolsonaro for malfeasance in the case of the Indian vaccine. They argued that he, after being informed, did not take steps to prevent the alleged irregularities.
The government denies irregularities and said that the president referred the case for analysis by the then Minister of Health, Eduardo Pazuello, who found nothing.
Last week, while maintaining a request for a breach of confidentiality required by the CPI, the STF minister said there was “serious suspicion” of signs of favoring and obtaining undue advantages in the negotiations for the purchase of the Indian vaccine.
The PGR post asks to open an inquiry against Bolsonaro for malfeasance in case Covaxin first appeared in ISTOÉ MONEY.