Assailed by suspicions surrounding the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, President Jair Bolsonaro repeated this Thursday (24) in Rio Grande do Norte that there is no suspicion of corruption in his government.
“To the sadness of a few, the government is completing two and a half years without a single accusation of corruption. There is no point in inventing a vaccine, because we have not received a single dose of this one that entered the press agenda yesterday,” said the president .
Bolsonaro also indicated that he will not comment on the suspicions, saying in a speech that he does not have to give interviews and that he will not answer questions from idiots.
“I don’t have to do an interview. I don’t have to answer questions from a lot of idiots, who all the time just come under us. I’m not free to make mistakes, but I have enough humility to recognize all this happens.”
The statements were made in the municipality of Jucuruti (RN), where the president participated in a technical visit to the Oiticica dam, which, when ready, will serve 330,000 people in the region.
Bolsonaro was accompanied by ministers Rogério Marinho (Regional Development) and Fábio Faria (Communications) — all three did not wear protective masks against Covid-19.
In the afternoon, in the city of Pau dos Ferros (RN), Bolsonaro will also participate in the signing of the service order for the Apodi branch, a channel that will carry water from the São Francisco River to Rio Grande do Norte.
Suspicions involving the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin reached the Palácio do Planalto, with the report that President Bolsonaro himself was alerted for more than three months of signs of irregularities.
The emergence of new facts resulted in a new line of investigation by Covid’s CPI, which has become central and should guide the commission’s activities for the next few weeks. The president of the CPI, senator Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), stated that it is perhaps the most serious complaint ever received by the collegiate.
Planalto, in turn, reacted late this Wednesday afternoon (23) by calling one of those investigated by the CPI to explain the Covaxin case —Elcio Franco, special advisor to the Civil House and former executive secretary of the Ministry of Health— , but unable to rebut the axis of suspicion.
President Bolsonaro also asked the Federal Police to investigate the Ministry of Health server Luís Ricardo Miranda and his brother, Federal Deputy Luís Miranda (DEM-DF), authors of the accusations involving him.
The case surrounding the Bolsonaro government’s suspected purchase of Covaxin was revealed by leaf last Friday (18), with the disclosure of the testimony of Luís Ricardo Miranda, head of the Ministry of Health’s import division.
He told the Federal Public Ministry that he received “unusual pressure” to expedite the release of Covaxin, developed by the Bharat Biotech laboratory.
The R$ 1.6 billion contract entered the CPI’s crosshairs, which suspects favoring the Indian vaccine and, in particular, the Brazilian company Need Medicines, which acted as an intermediary in the business.
Covaxin is the most expensive vaccine negotiated by the federal government, with a value of R$ 80 per dose. Furthermore, the negotiations were concluded in record time, when compared to the processes with Pfizer and the Butantan Institute.
COVAXIN: CHRONOLOGY, VACCINE X-RAY AND WHO’S WHO IN THIS STORY
1st meeting (20.11)
The first technical meeting is held at the Ministry of Health on the acquisition of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, produced by Bharat Biotech.
Brazilian ambassador in New Delhi, India, receives a delegation from the Brazilian Association of Vaccine Clinics. One of the representatives is Francisco Maximiano, president of Need Medicines. The mission visits Bharat Biotech.
Letter to the 1st Minister (08.01)
President Jair Bolsonaro sends a letter to the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and says that vaccines from Bharat Biotech are in the Brazilian immunization program.
Official Letter (18.01)
Ministry sends an official letter to the president of the Company informing it that it wants to start commercial negotiations for the acquisition of lots.
Contract signed (25.02)
Contract is signed between the Ministry of Health and Needs Medicines for the acquisition of 20 million doses.
New trip (05.03)
Maximiano makes another trip to India. He is received again at the Brazilian Embassy in New Delhi. The businessman speaks of 32 million doses contracted by the Ministry of Health.
Request rejected (31.03)
Anvisa rejects the request to import doses made by the ministry, due to lack of basic documents by the responsible company.
On the same day, a strategic area server of the Ministry of Health testifies to the MPF in which he reports atypical pressure to import doses, including interference by superiors with Anvisa.
The deadline stipulated in the contract for the delivery of 20 million doses ends. No dose arrived in Brazil.
Request approved (04.06)
Anvisa approves the request to import doses, but with restrictions, given the need for extra effectiveness studies. No dose arrived in Brazil.
Crime evidence (16.06)
MPF points out signs of crime in the contract and sends an investigation to an office that handles the fight against corruption.
- Contract value: BRL 1.61 billion
- Doses to be delivered: 20 million
- Valor individual da dose: US$ 15 (R$ 80,70)
Price of doses of other contracted vaccines:
- Sputnik V: R $ 69.36
- Coronavac: R$ 58,20
- Pfizer: US$ 10 (R$ 56,30)
- Janssen: US$ 10 (R$ 56,30)
- AstraZeneca/Oxford: US$ 3,16 (R$ 19,87)
Who is who:
– Need Medicines: is the company that signs the contract with the Ministry of Health. It represents the Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech in Brazil.
– Francisco Emerson Maximiano: managing partner of Need Medicines. He is the businessman who went to India to enable the representation of the Covaxin vaccine in Brazil. He also introduced himself as a representative of private vaccination clinics. Maximiano is president of Global Gestão em Saúde.
– Global Health Management: the company was sued in court by the MPF for advance and undue payments made by the Ministry of Health. The value adds up to R$ 20 million. According to the misconduct, Global did not provide medicines for rare diseases and, even so, received advance payments. Fourteen patients died, according to the MPF.
– Army Lieutenant Colonel Alex Lial Marinho: from the group close to General Eduardo Pazuello, and appointed by him to the position, Marinho was the general coordinator of Logistics for Strategic Health Supplies. Part of the pressure to try to import Covaxin, despite the lack of documents with Anvisa, came from lieutenant colonel, according to a public servant’s testimony to the MPF.