The Parliamentary Inquiry Commission (CPI) that investigates the role of the federal government during the covid-19 pandemic has a considerable list of issues to analyze in this second semester. But senators must also focus their energies on typifying suspicions of crimes and irregularities that have surfaced so far.
A group of jurists was already working to build the legal basis for the final report of the CPI. It is from this work that the type of crime the accusations point out will be raised and what Brazilian law says about the punishment of those responsible.
The set of suspicions so far indicates strong evidence of liability crime. But there are also suspicions of malfeasance on the part of President Jair Bolsonaro and even the possibility of accusation of charlatanism, due to the speech in defense of ineffective medicines against the coronavirus.
This week, the series BoF explains talks about the facts raised by the CPI so far, which seem to have a direct connection with the questionable action of the federal government in the face of the health crisis.
Since the first phase of the CPI’s work, the senators already had on the horizon the suspicion that Bolsonaro guided important decisions based on the advice of close people, who have no experience or experience in virology and epidemiology, for example. Some of these counselors are not even in the health field.
The group is made up of figures such as doctor Nise Yamaguchi, who advocates the use of chloroquine for “early treatment” of covid, although the drug is not effective against the disease and may even aggravate some conditions.
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That list also includes billionaire Carlos Wizard, who even without any experience in the area was an advisor to the Ministry of Health. Last year, he declared several times that he had gathered a group of doctors to defend treatment with ineffective drugs, including between governments.
Mayra Pinheiro, known as Capitã Cloroquina, former secretary of management of the Ministry of Health and creator of the TrateCov application, and Osmar Terra, defender of herd immunity, were also heard. All denied the existence of a parallel cabinet.
But it is a fact that the defense of ineffective drugs and tactics such as herd immunity can lead to the accusation of quackery. The senators are also investigating whether pharmaceutical companies have benefited from the purchase of these drugs by the federal government. Next week (11), senators listen, for example, to Jailton Batista, director of Vitamedic Indústria Farmacêutica, a manufacturer of ivermectin in Brazil.
The CPI also works with the investigation into the dissemination of false news by the government and President Jair Bolsonaro. In this case, the senators heard the former head of the Special Secretariat for Social Communication (Secom), Fabio Wajngarten.
The intention is to find out if the public machine was used to disseminate disinformation about covid-19, which could weigh on the accusations of crime of responsibility.
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To senators, however, Wajngarten denied that the government and the president had disseminated disinformation, even in the face of Bolsonaro’s statements against immunization, wearing masks, with false data about the spread of the virus, deaths and social isolation.
The main focus of this start of work, after the break, should focus on suspected irregularities and requests for bribes in the purchase of vaccines for the National Immunization Plan.
Another point on which the CPI of covid has pointed out suspicions of irregular actions by the government is in the purchase of vaccines. Initially, the intention was to understand what was behind the delay in buying doses.
The investigation points out that preference was given to certain laboratories, while others gained considerable chair tea. On the list of immunizers left in the fridge is Pfizer. With this, Brazil lost the chance to start immunization with 4.5 million doses available from December 2020.
Testimony of the former director of the company in Brazil, Carlos Murillo, confirmed the lack of interest of the Jair Bolsonaro government for months in purchasing the vaccine from the laboratory. He informed that the first meeting held with the Brazilian government was still in May 2020. Three months later, three offers of immunization agents remained unanswered.
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The delay in some negotiations seems to be just the tip of the iceberg. During the CPI’s work in the first half of the year, suspicions that were not on the radar initially emerged. One of them is that Jair Bolsonaro was warned about irregularities in the negotiation of vaccines, but did not take any action.
If this is proven, the president can answer for malfeasance. Name given to the crime committed when someone withholds information about offenses to satisfy individual interests.
The accusations are made by federal deputy Luís Miranda (DEM) and his brother, Luís Ricardo Fernandes Miranda, head of the Ministry of Health’s Import Division.
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Both told senators that the president was alerted to an alleged fraud scheme in the negotiation for the purchase of 20 million doses of the immunizing agent Covaxin. In addition, Miranda sent messages to an aide in Bolsonaro asking for attention to the matter.
Days after the depositions, new suspicions arose in another case. The Minas Gerais Military Police corporal Luiz Paulo Dominghetti Pereira, representative of the Davati company told the CPI that he received a request for a bribe in the negotiation of vaccines.
Brazil has today more than 550 thousand deaths registered by covid-19. The number of people infected since the first records has reached almost 20 million. For the senators who work on the commission, it is increasingly clear that these numbers could be lower if the path chosen by Jair Bolsonaro’s administration were different.
Edition: Leandro Melito