Jair Bolsonaro will soon have to answer in court. Three senators want to hold him accountable – that could have devastating consequences for the Brazilian president
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Three Brazilian senators have brought President Jair Bolsonaro to the Supreme Court for a breach of duty. The opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues announced on Monday (local time) that he “did nothing after he was informed about a gigantic corruption scheme in the Ministry of Health.” Randolfe is the vice chairman of a Senate investigative committee investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.
Last week, the commission made explosive allegations against Bolsonaro: Bolsonaro was aware of alleged corruption in connection with a contract for the Covaxin vaccine made in India worth 300 million dollars (around 250 million euros) and did not intervene.
“Unusual, disproportionate pressure”
Congressman Luis Miranda, who is close to Bolsonaro, had testified to the Senate Commission that the President had assured him that he would report the suspicion to the police, which he apparently did not do.
Previously, Miranda’s brother Luis Ricardo Miranda, who is responsible for medical imports at the Ministry of Health, had become aware of a bill for three million vaccine doses for 45 million dollars. He told the Commission of Inquiry last Friday that he had refused to authorize the payment to a company in Singapore. His superiors then put “unusual, disproportionate” pressure on him.
Criminal proceedings could lead to impeachment
After further irregularities related to the Covaxin deal became known, the government was forced to terminate the agreement.
Criminal proceedings against Bolsonaro in the Supreme Court could result in his impeachment. A prerequisite for this, however, would be an indictment by the Attorney General Augusto Aras, a Bolsonaro ally.
The case could also damage Jair 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.