Corruption is said to have been involved in the order for 20 million doses of vaccine and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is said to have simply watched. Now the public prosecutor’s office is allowed to investigate.
The Brazilian Supreme Court has opened an investigation into Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on allegations of corruption. The background to this is the order for 20 million doses of the Indian corona vaccine Covaxin.
The judge Rosa Weber accepted an application from the public prosecutor’s office, as the Brazilian news agency “Agência Brasil” reported on Friday evening (local time). A group of senators had filed criminal charges against Bolsonaro on suspicion of abuse of office because he should have ignored a suspicion of corruption.
Ex-official speaks of “unusual pressure”
A former health department employee had reported “unusual pressure” in handling the vaccine deal worth more than $ 300 million. The price of $ 15 is also said to be the highest the Department of Health has been willing to pay for a dose so far.
The Ministry of Health is said to have ordered the vaccine developed and manufactured in India before it was even approved in Brazil. A MP, brother of the ex-official, testified to have informed President Bolsonaro of these inconsistencies.
Didn’t know anything?
The Brazilian government, which suspended the contract to buy the Covaxin vaccine doses this week, has since issued several versions of the case. Bolsonaro said he was unaware of any irregularities. According to senators close to the government, Bolsonaro is said to have informed the then Minister of Health Eduardo Pazuello about the allegations.
Indian company Bharat Biotech said the price of a can of Covaxin to foreign governments was between $ 15 and $ 20. The price for Brazil was therefore within this range.
The Covaxin deal was recently also the focus of a parliamentary committee of inquiry, which is investigating the actions and omissions of President Jair Bolsonaro in the corona pandemic. The initiation of impeachment proceedings, however, depends on the President of the Chamber of Deputies – who is considered an ally of the Bolsonaro government.