Senator points out forgery in a document used by the government to refute allegations of irregularity in the purchase of Covaxin
Senator Simone Tebet (MDB-MS) said on Tuesday, 6, she believed that the document used by the government of Jair Bolsonaro to refute allegations of irregularities in the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin was falsified. To Covid's Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI), Tebet identified 24 errors in the so-called “invoice” (an invoice with payment data) presented by Minister Onyx Lorenzoni on June 23, when he threatened to sue the complainants.
With an image of the document, Tebet pointed out spelling errors, English errors and lack of information in the invoice that would have been sent by Need Medicines to the Ministry of Health, for the purchase of Covaxin, in March of this year. “There is clear proof of falsehood of a private document. We are talking about an ideological falsehood formulated by someone”, said the senator.
Among the errors pointed out by Tebet are the mismatched brand and logo of the company –“they are not aligned in some points, as if it were an assembly”–; English errors such as “prince” instead of “price”; “airpor” and not “airport” (airport); mixture of Portuguese and English, what the senator called “Portinglês”; difference in the number of vaccine doses from one field to another; lack of bank details and signatures/authorizations.
The document was released for the first time by the Ministry of Health, Luis Ricardo Miranda, and his brother, Deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF), as proof that there was an irregularity in the purchase of Covaxin. In the version presented by the two, the "invoice" provided for advance payment of R$ 45 million for 3 million doses of Covaxin, which was not provided for in the contract signed between the Ministry of Health and Need Medicines, intermediary of the business. Under the agreement, payment will only be made after Brazil receives the vaccine, which has not yet occurred.
Another point raised by the brothers is that the company receiving the payment is Madison Biotech, an offshore company headquartered in Singapore that is not included in the contract. According to Necessidade, the company is linked to the Indian laboratory Bharat Biothec, manufacturer of Covaxin.
Fake document. A more observant look was enough to notice serious errors that configure fraud in the Covaxin contract. Nobody saw? pic.twitter.com/Id8lcHc3of— Simone Tebet (@SimoneTebetms) July 6th, 2021
On June 23, Onyx and the advisor to the Civil House and former executive secretary of Health, Colonel Élcio Franco, made a statement at the Palácio do Planalto in which they accused the Ministry of Health server and his deputy brother of forging the document to suggest irregularities. According to Franco and Lorenzoni, the government had received two versions of the invoice, but none of them corresponded to the one presented by the Miranda brothers. The document presented by the brothers, however, is in the Ministry of Health's system.
“How come no one sees a bogus document like this, a document presented by Onyx and Elcio, photographed by us and the press?”, said the senator.
The Ministry of Health closed a purchase contract for 20 million doses of the immunizing agent on February 25 this year for a total amount of R$1,6 billion. Each dose will cost US$ 15, the highest value among the immunizing agents purchased by Pasta.
During the CPI session, the senator questioned whether Madison had produced a document “with so many errors in English”. “There are so many errors pointed out – 'of' which is not common, it usually has an apostrophe; the wrong corrected airport name; Brazil with “z”; and airport in Portuguese”, he pointed out.
According to her, the most serious error was related to the number of doses. The quantity expressed in the invoice was different in two document fields. “The doses they put there are 300 boxes with 16 ampoules each, each ampoule is enough for one dose. If I were to multiply by this, what Brazil would have to receive is 4,8 million doses and not 3 million, as it is here,” he said. "It is a document that says that Brazil will now receive 4,8 million doses of the vaccine, which will now receive 3 million doses."
Wanted by the report to explain the errors pointed out by the senator, Onyx and the Ministry of Health did not respond to questions.
See the errors pointed out by Simone Tebet.
State newspaper source
BRASILIA — Covid's CPI in the Senate will vote this Tuesday on the breach of confidentiality of government leader Ricardo Barros (PP-PR). The federal deputy was cited by President Jair Bolsonaro as responsible for an alleged corruption scheme in the acquisition of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, according to deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF). On Tuesday, senators will also decide whether Miranda will have her secrecy broken.
Miranda said in testimony to the CPI that, when denouncing a possible scheme in the Ministry of Health to President Jair Bolsonaro in March this year, he heard from the president that Ricardo Barros was behind the possible illegal activities.
The commission's agenda for next Tuesday also includes the testimony of civil servant Regina Célia Silva Olivesira, who was appointed by Barros for her position in Health. Barros' request for breach of confidentiality was made by senator Alessandro Vieira (Citizenship- IF).
The senators want to advance the corruption charges involving the federal government's purchase of vaccines that have been made public in recent weeks.
Initially, federal deputy Luis Miranda, and his brother, the Ministry of Health, Luis Roberto Miranda, stated in testimony that they had denounced an alleged corruption scheme in the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin.
Later, a salesman who introduced himself as a representative of the company Davati Medical Supply, from the United States, Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira, stated that he received a bribe from the then director of the Logistics department at the Ministry of Health, Roberto Dias.
As well as the secrecy of Deputy Ricardo Barros, the senators of the commission will vote to break the secrecy of Luis Miranda and Dominguetti. Another Davati representative, Cristiano Alberto Hossri Carvalho, may also be called to testify.
BRASILIA – The Ministry of Health has temporarily suspended the contract to buy 20 million doses of the Indian vaccine Covaxin. The decision was taken this Tuesday, 29, a day after President Jair Bolsonaro was the target of a criminal report sent by senators to the Supreme Court (STF), for malfeasance. The government acts to defuse suspicions that the purchase of the vaccine would involve a corruption scheme within the Ministry of Health, with the knowledge of the president, while preparing the counteroffensive in Covid's Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI).
The suspension of the business occurred on the recommendation of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) after deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) and public servant Luis Ricardo Fernandes Miranda, brother of the congressman, told the CPI, last Friday, who warned Bolsonaro about irregularities in importing Covaxin, even charging bribes. The new crisis comes in the wake of Bolsonaro's falling popularity and street protests, with more calls for impeachment.
“Under the guidance of CGU, as a matter of convenience and opportunity, we decided to suspend the contract so that more in-depth analysis can be carried out. On the other hand, the Ministry of Health will carry out an administrative investigation to verify all aspects of the issue that have been raised”, said the Minister of Health, Marcelo Queiroga, in an interview at the Palácio do Planalto. The information that the contract would be suspended was anticipated by CNN Brasil.
When forwarding a crime-report against Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court, senators Fabiano Contarato (Rede-ES), Jorge Kajuru (Podemos-GO) and Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), vice president of the CPI, stated that he ignored fraud alerts and collection of bribes in the process of contracting Covaxin, a vaccine produced by the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech and intermediated by Necessidade Medimentos.
In a statement sent to the office of the Supreme Minister Rosa Weber, rapporteur of the case, the Attorney General's Office asked the magistrate to await the conclusions of the CPI before deciding on the crime report (more information on this page).
The agreement between the Ministry of Health and Need was signed on February 25 and provides for payment of R$1,6 billion. The value per dose (US$ 15) is the most expensive of the six immunizations that the country has purchased so far.
Although the minister of the CGU, Wagner Rosário, says that the suspension of the contract will only last while technicians analyze whether there were irregularities - which he hopes to conclude in a maximum of ten days - in the auxiliary backstage at Bolsonaro, they already admit the possibility of canceling the deal . In the dispatch to the Ministry of Health, the CGU informed that it was "urgent" to suspend the contract to "ensure the protection of the public interest and coffers", since there was a risk of seeing the process "ridden with vices".
“We will do this analysis to make sure there is no blemish on this contract. From then on, the decision to hire or not is an act of management by the minister of Health, it is not up to the CGU”, said Rosário, alongside Queiroga. “The CGU is suspending the process solely and exclusively to verify a possible irregularity brought by a server that has not yet been able to specify what it is. We are reviewing the process to provide maximum security for the minister to take decisions within the law.”
Unlike what Rosário said, however, the server Luis Ricardo Fernandes Miranda – head of importation at the Ministry of Health's Logistics Department – appeared at the CPI with documents on what he was saying and claimed to have suffered pressure from superiors to speed up the purchase of Covaxin . The employee showed copies of invoices to prove that there was an attempt to advance the payment of US$ 45 million to a company that was not included in the contract – Madison Biotech – and, along with his brother, said he had taken all these complaints to Bolsonaro in meeting at the Alvorada Palace, on March 20th.
At the time, according to deputy Luis Miranda, the president attributed the suspicions to "another roll" of deputy Ricardo Barros (Progressistas-PR), former health minister and current government leader in the Chamber. In Miranda's version, Bolsonaro said he would call the Federal Police to investigate the case, but no investigation was opened at the time.
In addition to the higher price and pressure to accelerate the deal, the government contract to acquire Covaxin also raised suspicions from senators for having been the only one signed through an intermediary company. All others were negotiated with the laboratory manufacturers or who will produce the vaccines.
In conversation with supporters, Bolsonaro mocked the complaint, saying that his opponents had invented the modality of “virtual corruption” because nothing had been paid for. The money for the purchase of Covaxin, however, has already been committed (reserved) to the Budget.
The contract with Need Medicines foresaw that the first shipment, of 4 million doses, would be sent to Brazil in March. Without the approval of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa), however, the deadline was not respected.
Covid's CPI now wants the government to give details about the decision to suspend the contract for the purchase of the Indian vaccine. "I want to know when these opinions of the CGU were given," Senator Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), president of the CPI, told Estadão. "Why didn't you do this before?" For Senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE), the government admits that there are irregularities in suspending the contract. “This decision is an acknowledgment of guilt,” he said. “If there's nothing wrong, why will they suspend it? This only has one name: Confession!” said Randolfe, in a message posted on Twitter. /COLORED DANIEL WETERMAN.
Source: Jornal Estadão SP.
BRASÍLIA – Accused of pressuring public servants to speed up the import of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, even with signs of irregularities in the contract, the director of the Ministry of Health's Logistics Department, Roberto Ferreira Dias, was dismissed from his post. The decision was taken on the morning of Tuesday, 29, according to a note released at night by the Ministry. The text also confirms that the director's resignation will be published in the Official Gazette edition of this Wednesday, 30th.
Ferreira's dismissal comes four days after the testimony to Covid's CPI by deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) and his brother, Luis Ricardo Fernandes Miranda, head of import at the Ministry of Health's Logistics Department. a corruption scheme involving the purchase of Covaxin and cited Ferreira Dias.
The director was nominated for the position by the government leader in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (Progressistas-PR), former Minister of Health, and by former deputy Abelardo Lupion (DEM-PR). Barros denies having sponsored the director, who assumed the role in the administration of then-minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta.
Last year, Ferreira almost occupied a board of directors at the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa). President Jair Bolsonaro himself withdrew from the nomination, however, after Estadão showed that the director had signed a R$ 133,2 million contract with the Ministry of Health, with evidence of irregularity, to purchase 10 million kits of materials used in covid-19 tests.
Another accusation against him, this time of charging bribes, came from Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira, who introduces himself as a representative of Davatti Medical Supply. On Friday, Covid's CPI will hear the testimony of Dominguetti, who told the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper that he had received from Ferreira Dias a request for a US$ 1 bribe for each dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine purchased by the Bolsonaro government. AstraZeneca denies, however, that Davatti represents it – the American company has already been disallowed by AstraZeneca in Canada.
Senators Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), vice president of the CPI, and Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE) prepared a request to summon Dominguetti. When they testified to Covid's CPI, deputy Luis Miranda and his brother said they met with Bolsonaro on March 20, at Palácio da Alvorada, and reported the corruption scheme in the Ministry of Health to purchase vaccines.
Reports published in the Minas Gerais press indicate that Davatti may be defrauding the process of purchasing vaccines in the state. The company would have negotiated with city halls, with the objective of obtaining a letter of intent showing interest in the acquisition of immunizers from AstraZeneca. After getting the letter, however, conversations got stuck.
In the case of Covaxin, the Bolsonaro government closed the purchase contract for a price 1.000% higher than that announced by the manufacturer itself, as revealed by Estadão. The Ministry of Health decided to suspend the contract temporarily, this Tuesday, 29, on the recommendation of the Federal Comptroller General (CGU).
In August 2020, a confidential telegram from the Brazilian embassy in New Delhi informed the government that the Covaxin vaccine, produced by Bharat Biotech, had an estimated price of 100 rupees (US$1,34 a dose). Four months later, in December, another diplomatic communiqué said that the Indian-made product "would cost less than a bottle of water." In February this year, however, the Ministry of Health signed a contract with a price of US$ 15 per unit (R$ 80,70, at the price at the time), the most expensive of the six vaccines purchased so far.
Source: Jornal Estadão SP.
The Jair Bolsonaro government will dismiss the director of the Ministry of Health's Logistics Department, Roberto Dias. According to an article in the Folha de S. Paulo newspaper, the vaccine representative said that Dias would have charged a bribe to close a contract for the purchase of the doses.
The Ministry of Health sent to Planalto Palace, on the night of Tuesday, 29, Dias' resignation. Sponsored by Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), government leader in the Chamber, the director has been in office since January 2019, still under Luiz Henrique Mandetta.
According to a statement from the Ministry of Health, the dismissal of Dias will be published in the Official Gazette of the Union on Wednesday, 30. The reason for the dismissal was not informed.
According to the newspaper, Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira, representative of the company Davati Medical Supply, Dias would have charged a bribe of US$ 1 per dose sold, at a dinner in a restaurant in Brasília. The director would not have responded to the newspaper's contacts. Covid's CPI president, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), said the case will be investigated by the commission.
The logistics department is responsible, at the ministry, for signing contracts. The sector was “allotted” to the PP, Bolsonaro's grassroots party.
Last week, Dias was quoted by the server Luis Ricardo Miranda, in testimony to Covid's CPI, as having made “atypical pressure” for the release of Covaxin. On the same day, his brother, deputy Luis Claudio Miranda (DEM-DF), said that the two took the complaint to Bolsonaro, who would have said it was "Ricardo Barros's roll".
Source: Jornal Estadão SP.
PGR asks the STF to await the end of Covid's CPI to decide whether to investigate Bolsonaro for malfeasance in the Covaxin case
The Attorney General's Office (PGR) asked the Supreme Court (STF) on Tuesday, 29, to hold back the progress of the crime news that calls for the investigation of President Jair Bolsonaro (no party) for possible crime of malfeasance in negotiations for the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, manufactured by the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech.
In a statement sent to the office of Minister Rosa Weber, rapporteur of the case, the Deputy Attorney General of the Republic Humberto Jacques de Medeiros defended that the Federal Public Ministry wait for the end of Covid's CPI before thinking about opening a concurrent investigation.
"In respect of the system of independence and harmony of the constituted Powers and aware of the impossibility of the direct leap from the news-crime to the criminal action, with the suppression of the tabulation phase, the Federal Public Ministry requires that the early petition not be given transit", he says an excerpt from the document.
The request to denounce Bolsonaro came from senators Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), Fabiano Contarato (Rede-ES) and Jorge Kajuru (Podemos-GO). The lawmakers took the case to the STF after federal deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) and the lawmaker's brother, Luis Ricardo Miranda, who is head of import at the Ministry of Health's Logistics Department, said in testimony to the parliamentary committee that the president ignored warnings about suspected corruption in the process of acquiring the immunizing agent.
The deputy prosecutor considered that the senators had “broken” the CPI by calling the Supreme Court before the conclusion of the parliamentary investigation. Jacques de Medeiros said they acted outside the collegiate. “Putting the cohesion in the necessarily collective deliberations of the Legislative Power at risk”, he observed.
In the evaluation of the PGR, the analysis of the case must await the final report of the commission. He advocates 'prestige' legislative investigation, which is generally faster. Another argument is that the findings can reach divergent conclusions.
“If the Legislative Power is investigating with excellence apparently illegal behavior with all the necessary competences, what would be the reason for the Supreme Court to open a concurrent investigation, taken by institutional checks and balances and without equal agility? Going further, what is the gain for the interinstitutional machinery if, at the end of the parallel investigations, there is a divergence between the conclusions of the judicial police and the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission?”, he questioned in the statement sent to the STF.
The opinion was sent at the request of Minister Rosa Weber. It is up to her to decide, monocratically or with the collegiate, whether to authorize the opening of a formal investigation into the president's conduct.
Pressed, Bolsonaro said he did not know the details about the purchase of Covaxin and denied irregularities in the deal. After the suspicions, the Ministry of Health decided to temporarily suspend the contract to import 20 million doses of the Indian vaccine.
Source: Jornal Estadão SP.
BRASILIA – Need Medicines, a company that negotiates the Indian vaccine Covaxin, received R$ 66 from MDC Vacinas, a private clinic in Porto Alegre (RS), as an advance payment for sending doses of the immunizing agent.
The total value of contracted products was R$660 thousand. The delivery, however, never happened because the law does not allow the sale of vaccines by the private market and the Indian vaccine still does not have the approval of the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa).
On June 18, the Court of Justice of São Paulo decided to accept the request of the clinic in Rio Grande do Sul and ordered the blocking of the accounts of Preta. The Brazilian representative of the Indian laboratory Bharat Biontech even asked that the process in court be kept confidential, which was denied by the TJ-SP.
As shown by Estadão, in January, Necessidade signed a contract with the Brazilian Association of Private Clinics (ABCVAC) so that the private sector could immunize against the coronavirus with the product from India.
The contract was for 5 million doses and provided for five price ranges, which varied according to the quantity purchased. If all the doses had been sold at the minimum price, Need would have received US$163,55 million (or R$804,666 million at the current dollar rate of R$4,92). For purchases above 100 doses, the unit price is the lowest possible and each one would cost US$ 32,71 (R$ 160,93 ). The smallest amount possible to be acquired (2 to 7,2 doses), each immunizing agent would cost US$ 40,78 (R$ 200,63). The contract does not establish the price at which the clinics would sell each dose to their clients.
The agreement also provides that clinics that closed a deal with Need could request their money back if Covaxin did not obtain authorization from the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) by April 15th. This is the case with the client from Porto Alegre.
So far, however, the agency has only granted an exceptional authorization for the import of part of the doses purchased by the Ministry of Health. The need presented this Tuesday, 29, a new application for emergency use of the immunizing agent in the country. the intermediary company, the federal government decided to suspend the contract in which it would receive 20 million doses of Covaxin. The decision was made based on suspicions of corruption in the process.
In testimony to Covid's Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) on Friday, 25, Luis Ricardo Fernandes Miranda, head of the import sector at the Ministry of Health, said he had been pressured by superiors to speed up the purchase of the Indian immunizing agent. The server pointed out an attempt to pay in advance and, alongside his brother, Deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF), met with Bolsonaro in March to point out signs of corruption in the agreement.
At the time, according to the deputy, the president attributed the suspicions to "another roll" of deputy Ricardo Barros (Progressistas-PR), former minister of ministry and current government leader in the Chamber.
Also according to Miranda, Bolsonaro said he would call the Federal Police to investigate the case, but no investigation was opened at the time.
Source: O Estado de S.Paulo.
BRASÍLIA – The president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (DEM-MG), is resisting an immediate extension of Covid's CPI for another three months. Pacheco is considering consulting party leaders in the House to decide on postponing the end of the CPI, which investigates actions and omissions by President Jair Bolsonaro's government in the coronavirus pandemic.
Senators who defend the continuity of the commission do not rule out a new appeal for the Supreme Court (STF) to force the Senate to extend the CPI, if Pacheco causes difficulties. “This analysis must be done at the end of the 90-day period of the Parliamentary Inquiry Commission. And, of course, it will be done on that occasion”, said Pacheco during the plenary session yesterday. Until Tuesday, the request had 34 of the 27 signatures needed for the extension.
On Monday, the vice president of the CPI, Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), presented an application requesting that the work of the CPI continue for three months. If there is no recess, the most likely scenario, the commission ends on July 26th.
The extension comes as the CPI follows a new line of investigation, which investigates a suspicion of corruption for the purchase of vaccines, including Covaxin. According to deputy Luis Miranda and his brother, the Ministry of Health's server Luis Ricardo Fernandes Miranda, President Jair Bolsonaro was warned about problems in the contract.
“All signatures for the extension of our work have already been collected. We have already entered a new phase of investigation. The phases that were left behind are evidenced by testimonies, information, confessions, and we are also, in parallel, transferring the confidentiality and detailing the problem that this CPI brings together", said the commission's rapporteur, senator Renan Calheiros (MDB -AL).
For the term of the CPI to be extended for another three months, Pacheco needs to read the application in a session of the Senate plenary, as he did in the installation of the collegiate. The government can act to withdraw the signatures before reading the document in plenary, barring the extension of the CPI.
In April, the president of the Senate only authorized the operation of the commission after being obliged by decision of the Supreme Court. Pacheco has expressed dissatisfaction with the government, but keeps the door open for dialogue. Last week, for example, he criticized Bolsonaro's veto of the project that increases the area of action of the Superintendence for the Development of the Northeast (Sudene) in Minas Gerais and stated that the Ministry of Economy has "social insensitivity".
Source: O Estado de S.Paulo.