Did the Brazilian president know about corruption cases in a contract with a vaccine manufacturer? This is now being checked by the public prosecutor. Removal from office is also possible if charged.
The Brazilian Public Prosecutor’s Office is launching a preliminary investigation into the role of President Jair Bolsonaro in a suspected corruption case. The public prosecutor announced on Friday that this should determine whether the prerequisites for indicting the right-wing extremist head of state are met. On Monday, three MPs filed a lawsuit against Bolsonaro for breach of duty in the country’s Supreme Court.
Despite his knowledge of a “gigantic corruption scheme”, the President said he had not done anything. Accordingly, the head of state is said to have known of corruption in connection with a contract for the vaccine Covaxin, which is manufactured in India, worth 300 million dollars (around 250 million euros) and did not intervene. When further irregularities related to the Covaxin deal became known, the government was forced to terminate the agreement.
In the case of proceedings: removal from office is possible
A criminal case against Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court could even lead to his impeachment. A prerequisite for this, however, would be an indictment by the Attorney General Augusto Aras, a Bolsonaro ally. His deputy, Humberto Jacques de Medeiros, also a Bolsonaro supporter, had asked the court to dismiss the case. Judge Rosa Weber refused this request.
The case could also damage Bolsonaro politically. Its popular support is currently waning. In recent polls, the head of state is far behind his left-wing challenger, ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Presidential elections will be held in Brazil next year.