The Public Ministry of Rio de Janeiro (MP-RJ) is investigating the state governor, Cláudio Castro (PSC), on suspicion of fraud in the purchase of one million food baskets during the covid-19 pandemic. The damage to public coffers can reach R$ 3.4 million, according to the State Audit Court (TCE-RJ).
At the time, Castro was deputy governor and was in charge of the Leão XIII Foundation, which is linked to the State Secretariat for Social Development and Human Rights. The MP investigates crimes of bidding fraud, overpricing, overpricing and liquidation exceeding the commitment in the foundation’s contracts with the companies All In One Communicão and Cesta de Alimentos Brasil.
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A government audit that substantiated the decision of the TCE-RJ showed, in April this year, that there was an overpricing of R$ 17.22 per unit of the 200 thousand basic food baskets contracted. The MP-RJ is also based on a report by the Legislative Assembly of Rio (Alerj) on government emergency spending on the covid-19 pandemic.
According to the documents, the Government of the State of Rio carried out two processes to purchase the baskets. One of them corresponds to the contract with the company Cesta de Alimentos Brasil, which made an offer of R$ 108 for each basic basket. Another company, whose contract did not come into effect, offered the product for R$98.
In July of last year, the Public Ministry had already obtained an injunction in court preventing the Fundação Leão XIII from making the payment of BRL 2.852 million, among the BRL 3.905 million outstanding in a contract for the supply of baskets with Cesta de Alimentos Brasil Ltda. The MP-RJ’s argument was the overpricing in the contract.
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At the time, the MP-RJ filed a public civil action for administrative improbity. According to the MP, the contract in the amount of R$ 21.6 million for the supply of 200,000 food baskets for the “Mutirão Humanitário” project was signed with exemption from bidding and serious illegalities were identified, such as the direction of contracting, existence of overpricing and overpricing.
The “Humanitarian Mutirão” was created by the State Government to distribute, on an emergency basis in the context of fighting the pandemic, about one million food baskets to families in situations of social vulnerability, registered in the Single Registry for Social Programs (CadÚnico).
On the last 9th, the Attorney General’s Office notified Governor Cláudio Castro so that he could respond within 20 days about the irregularities pointed out in the TCE-RJ processes. According to the portal G1, Castro did not send the answers within the deadline.
Source: BoF Rio de Janeiro
Edition: Eduardo Miranda