The evidence raised during the testimony of the Minister of Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), Wagner de Campos Rosário, to Covid’s Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI), point to the agency’s omission in the face of alleged fraud in the negotiation of the Covaxin vaccine between the Ministry of Health, Need Medicines and the Indian laboratory Bharat Biotech.
Rosário determined the opening of an audit of contractual documents only on June 22, 2021. However, deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) told the CPI that he met with president Jair Bolsonaro (no party) on the day March 20, and on that occasion presented the retired captain with the documents that would prove the fraud scheme in the negotiation.
Before meeting with the president, Luis Miranda sent messages to an advisor to the president talking about a “heavy corruption scheme” within the Ministry of Health for the purchase of vaccines.
“I have evidence and witnesses. (…) Don’t forget to notify the PR [presidente]. Then I don’t want anyone saying I imploded the Republic. Already have PF ec****** in the case. He needs to get ahead of himself”, said the congressman in the messages. Soon after, he stated that “he was on the way”.
The frauds were discovered by two Ministry of Health servers, Luis Miranda’s brother, Luis Ricardo, and William Amorim Santana, both members of the Ministry of Health’s Import Division.
At the time, the servers were puzzled by the request for an advance payment of US$ 45 million to a third company, not provided for in the contract, Madison Biotech, in addition to the reduction in the quantity of doses from four to three million.
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Rosário stated that one of the auditors also identified an unusual feature in the documents.
“All documents were in English and this one highlighted by the auditor had excerpts in Portuguese. There was a very large indication that that document had been pasted.” Senator Simone Tebet said that who discovered the fraud in the document was not the CGU, but the press.
Still, according to senator Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL), the CGU did not intervene in the negotiation.
“Why did you still consider the contract regular?” asked the senator. In response, Rosário stated that “no one can be condemned out of hand, because there is due legal process”, and argued that the purchase did not take place.
Asked if there was an overpricing in the price of Covaxin, of US$ 15 (R$ 75.25) per dose, Rosário denied the possibility, since payment was not made. According to Rosário, the overpricing can only be verified after the purchase.
The minister also stated that the conclusion came after a survey on the company’s own website, where prices are practiced in hospitals in India and in other countries, and with direct contact with the company.
“We questioned the Bharat Biotech company,” said Rosário.
In the Presidency, the investigation also failed. After the meeting with the Miranda brothers, the president would have asked the then Minister of Health, General Eduardo Pazuello, to investigate the complaint.
Two days later, however, Pazuello was dismissed, and the investigation was carried out by the then Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Elcio Franco. According to senator Simone Tebet (MDB-MS), a day after taking over the investigation of the case, Franco would have completed the investigation without finding anything.
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The name of Roberto Ferreira Dias, former director of the Department of Logistics at the Ministry of Health, is involved in Operation Host, launched in October 2020 by the CGU, which is investigating a criminal organization accused of diverting resources from Health since 2011. According to Luis Ricardo , Roberto Ferreira Dias was one of those responsible for pressuring Ministry of Health servers to approve the import of Covaxin, even in the face of inconsistencies pointed out by Ricardo and Santana.
Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), vice president of the CPI, analyzed the documentation of the Operation and found a conversation between Marconny Faria and José Ricardo Santana, forwarded by Danilo Trento, referring to Roberto Dias. In the conversation, Marconny talks to Ricardo Santana about fraud in the bidding process.
According to the congressman, Marconny “is the ‘master of all lobbies’, he was in a meeting with Bolsonaro’s lawyer and José Ricardo Santana, who was Roberto Ferreira Dias’ interlocutor. Marconny was a lobbyist for Needs Medicines too. And from that meeting, a sequence of facts and acts began”, said Randolfe. José Ricardo Santana is former executive secretary of Anvisa and Danilo Trento, one of the partners of Necessidade Medimentos.
When questioned, Wagner Rosário stated that he did not take any action in relation to Roberto Dias after the investigation of Operation Host, which was concluded on March 31st.
It is worth remembering that Roberto Ferreira Dias and José Ricardo Santana were present at the Vasto restaurant, in Brasília Shopping, on February 25th. At the time, Dias would have asked for a bribe of US$ 1 per dose of vaccine from the laboratory of AstraZeneca to the representative of Davati Medical Supply, Luiz Paulo Dominguetti.
For Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), president of the CPI, Rosário may have committed a crime of malfeasance.
“What he has to explain is not the operations he carried out, it is his omission in relation to the federal government. It has to come, but it doesn’t have to come to play for the fans, no. He will play here and on our field. And Wagner Rosário, who had access to these messages [sobre negociações de compra de vacinas pelo Ministério da Saúde] since October 27, 2020, he has been a prevaricator”, said the congressman.
On social media, Rosário rebutted the accusation.
“Senator Omar Aziz, slander is a crime!!! The authority to anticipate the attribution of guilt, before the investigations are concluded and the indictment formalized, is also a crime!!! Eagerly awaiting your call,” he wrote on his Twitter profile. And he was entitled to a rejoinder: President Omar Aziz replied, in turn, that “prevarication is also a crime”.
During Marconny Faria’s testimony, Aziz once again made statements about Rosario. “Wagner Rosário is an offender. He has to come here [na CPI]. How did he know that Roberto Dias [ex-diretor de Logística da pasta federal] was operating within the Ministry of Health and did not take action? He has to explain.”
Edition: Anelize Moreira