This is a potentially explosive new revelation for the government of Jair Bolsonaro. Roberto Dias, a senior official, director of logistics at the Brazilian health ministry, demanded bribes from the representative of a supplier of Covid-19 vaccines, the daily reports Newspaper.
Luiz Paulo Dominguetti, representative of the company Davati Medical Supply, assured this leading newspaper in Brazil that he had proposed to the government to sell him 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
He allegedly met Roberto Dias in a restaurant in a shopping center in Brasilia, and the latter asked him to pay him a dollar per dose of kickback to close the sale, which ultimately did not take place because Mr. Dominguetti refused to pay this sum.
Tuesday evening, shortly after the publication of the article by Newspaper, Mr. Dias was dismissed from the ministry. The AstraZeneca laboratory explained in a statement that it never used an intermediary to offer vaccines to governments.
The Brazilian government has also forged, for more than a year, a partnership with AstraZeneca for the local production of the vaccine at the Fondation Institut Oswaldo-Cruz (Fiocruz) in Rio de Janeiro through technology transfer.
Commission of Inquiry into the Management of the Pandemic
This new accusation adds to a long list of alleged irregularities that have been investigated for two months by a Senate Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (ICC) into the management of the pandemic, which has killed more than half a million people. in Brazil. “This is a serious accusation. We will summon Mr. Dominguetti to a commission hearing on Friday ”, tweeted Tuesday evening, Omar Aziz, President of the ICC.
Last week, another health ministry official said he suffered “Atypical pressures” to approve the importation of doses of the Indian vaccine Covaxin that it considered to be overcharged. Before the ICC, this official and his brother, MP Luis Miranda, revealed that they had raised their suspicions to Jair Bolsonaro, but no action was reportedly taken by the president.
On Monday, three senators filed with the Supreme Court a request to open an investigation against the head of state for “Prevarication”. This request was transmitted by Rosa Weber, magistrate of the high court, to the office of the public prosecutor Augusto Aras, an ally of Jair Bolsonaro. Mr. Aras’ deputy said on Tuesday evening that he refused to open an investigation while the ICC was underway, to avoid any ” conflict “ between investigations.
Protests are planned in Brasilia on Wednesday, and representatives of several opposition parties intend to table in parliament a “Great impeachment request” by M. Bolsonaro.
More than 120 similar requests have already been filed, but the procedure will only be opened if the president of the lower house, Arthur Lira, decides to put it to a vote. The latter is also an ally of Mr. Bolsonaro.