Bolsonaro, whose popularity has faded as Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll climbed past 500,000, has denied any wrongdoing, saying on Monday he was not aware of any irregularities
will suspend a $324-million contract for Covid-19 vaccine
from India that has mired President Jair Bolsonaro
in accusations of irregularities, the health minister said on Tuesday, following guidance by the federal comptroller, the CGU.
The deal to buy 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin shot has become a headache for Bolsonaro after whistleblowers went public with alleged irregularities. One health ministry official said he alerted the president about his concerns.
Bolsonaro, whose popularity has faded as Brazil’s Covid-19 death toll climbed past 500,000, has denied any wrongdoing, saying on Monday he was not aware of any irregularities.
But thorny questions persist, and may pose problems for him ahead of next year’s presidential vote.
Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga told a news
conference his team would investigate the accusations during the suspension.
“According to the preliminary analysis of the CGU, there are no irregularities in the contract but, for compliance, the health ministry chose to suspend the contract,” the ministry said in a statement.
CNN Brasil had earlier reported that the ministry had decided to cancel the contract.
Brazilian federal prosecutors have opened an investigation, citing comparatively high prices of about $15 a dose, quick talks and pending regulatory approvals as red flags.
The deal is also being probed by a Senate panel investigating Brazil’s handling of the pandemic.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.