Even with no guarantee that he had vaccines, Reverend Amilton Gomes de Paula, president of the National Secretariat for Humanitarian Affairs (Senah), received exceptional treatment from the Ministry of Health, compared to representatives of laboratories such as Pfizer and the Butantan Institute.
“The credential you had, we wanted companies that have vaccines to have since last year,” said senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), vice president of the CPI at Covid.
Six days after meeting the military police officer Luiz Paulo Dominguetti, representative of Davati Medical Supply, the reverend requested, through an email, a meeting at the Ministry of Health, to present the proposal for 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine offered by Dominguetti.
The meeting was requested on February 22, at 12:50 pm. About three hours later, even without an answer to the e-mail, Amilton de Paula and Dominguetti went to the Ministry, where they were received by Laurício Monteiro Cruz, director of the Department of Immunization and Communicable Diseases, which is part of the Secretariat for Surveillance in Health (SVS).
“Pfizer could not be received by the government, nor Butantan, nor the WHO [Organização Mundial da Saúde], nor the Covax Facility. And on the same day you asked, you were seen within a period of two hours”, highlighted the rapporteur of the CPI, senator Renan Calheiros (MDB-AL).
::Dominguetti throws loose strands into the lap of Covid’s CPI::
At the time, Monteiro Cruz clarified the documentation required for the presentation of the offer and stated that the entire process of acquiring vaccines is restricted to the Executive Secretariat of the folder, then headed by Colonel Elcio Franco.
Given the information brought by Laurício Monteiro, the reverend sent an email directly to the Ministry’s Executive Secretariat.
At this first meeting, on February 22nd, Dominguetti also presented himself as the representative of the American company Latin Air, with an offer of 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at a cost of R$ 3.97 per dose.
In a second moment, however, on March 1st, Dominguetti informed the reverend of a change of company: he left Latin Air and started to represent Davati Medical Supply, “stating that the second company would be better able to meet the demands” of Brazil.
Another meeting, on March 12, this time with Elcio Franco, would have been facilitated by Helcio Bruno de Almeida, president of Instituto Força Brasil, who already “had an agenda at the Ministry of Health and decided” to include Dominguetti and the reverend.
At the meeting, Elcio Franco questioned the existence of a document from AstraZeneca proving the existence of the doses and representation of the company. As there was no document, the matter related to the proposal would have been closed.
::Who is Elcio Franco? Colonel returns to the center of allegations of corruption in the purchase of vaccines::
After the proposal did not go forward, Reverend Amilton de Paula said that Cristiano Carvalho had told him that Senah would no longer be part of negotiations for 400 million doses with the Ministry of Health.
“I was one of the people who requested documentation from Davati and the documentation did not arrive. And I, having put my name in this operation, I was worried”, said the reverend.
The reverend said that he spoke with Herman Cardenas, owner of Davati, about the proposal of 400 million doses. He said that at the time the businessman guaranteed that he had the doses. In an interview with Fantastic, however, Cárdenas said only that he acted as a facilitator and that he did not have the vaccines.
In another contradiction, Dominghetti, in his testimony to the CPI, stated that he has no contractual relationship with Davati. “There was a gentlemen’s agreement, not least because I’m a civil servant and I can’t sign a contract,” said the military policeman.
The British laboratory AstraZeneca reported that all negotiations are carried out directly “through agreements signed with governments and multilateral organizations around the world, including the Covax Facility, and it is not possible to make vaccines available to the private market or to municipal and state governments in Brazil ”.
He also denied having any contractual relationship with the Texas-based company Davati Medical Supply. AstraZeneca’s only contract with Brazil was made through the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz), on September 8 and 9, 2020.
In addition to these contradictions, senator Randolfe Rodrigues presented two documents that put the reverend in a short skirt. In an initial offer, presented by Herman Cárdenas, 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, at $10 per dose, were presented.
In a second document, presented on March 24, this time, directly by the reverend to the former executive secretary of the Ministry of Health, Élcio Franco, the offer was US$ 11, on an emergency basis, with delivery within 25 days .
The reverend told the senator that he is not aware of the existence of the first document, but acknowledges his authorship in the second document.
According to the reverend, Herman himself transferred the amount of US$ 11. For Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, the difference of US$ 1 coincides with the accusation by military police officer Luiz Paulo Dominguetti that the federal government would have asked for a bribe of $1 per serving.
In another contradiction, the reverend said that he does not remember meeting Roberto Ferreira Dias, former director of Logistics at the Ministry of Health, accused of asking for bribes in the negotiation of 400 million doses.
However, senator Randolfe Rodrigues presented to the CPI an exchange of messages between Dominguetti and Amilton de Paula, in which the reverend said: “Good afternoon, Dominguetti, I’m in Roberto Dias’ room, with the others who spoke to him.”
Both opposition and government senators believe that the reverend did not bring enough information to the CPI to build his narrative.
“We clearly see that you lie or omit some situations”, says senator Eliziane Gama (Cidadania-MA). At another moment, the president of the CPI, senator Omar Aziz (PSD-AM) stated that Amilton de Paula brought “a story that is very difficult for anyone to believe”.
The reverend did not explain how he ended up in the midst of negotiations for 400 million doses. Beginning the speech by referring to himself in the third person, the reverend seems to have left crucial points to others.
He did not explain the reasons that led him to be treated, along with representatives of Davati Medical Supply, as an exceptional within the federal government, even without having a vaccine in hand.
“The way you arrive at this negotiation is something that leaves many doubts regarding all this that happened. Do you regret in any way joining this group?”, asked senator Eduardo Girão (Podemos-CE), who is part of the government’s Shock Troop within the CPI.
In the same way that the federal government refused seven offers of immunizations from the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer, produced in partnership with the German laboratory BioNtech, the government stopped negotiations established by the Ministry of Health with the Butantan Institute, based on the third offer of the CoronaVac vaccine, manufactured together with the Chinese laboratory Sinovac.
Also during the testimony, the National Council of Justice (CNJ) denied having a partnership with the Reverend Amilton Gomes de Paula, different from what he had stated at the beginning of his testimony.
The Order of Malta Brazil do Espírito Santo also sent documentation to the CPI stating that it has no relationship with Senah, also different from what Reverend Amilton de Paula had informed the senators.
The reverend also said that he was appointed world ambassador for peace by the Federal for Universal Peace (UFP). The organization was founded by Sun Myung Moon, who was convicted by the United States of tax evasion.
At one point, the reverend said he regretted having opened the “door” of his home to representatives of Davati Medical Supply. In tears, she said: “The biggest mistake I made was opening the door to my house when I lost a loved one in my family and wanted vaccines. I am to blame, yes, and I apologize to Brazil”. Even regretful, the reverend did not give the explanations considered necessary to the senators.
Edition: Leandro Melito