• Thursday, Oct 21, 2021
  • Last Update : 12:18 pm

Brazil official warned Bolsonaro over pressure to buy Bharat vaccine

  • Published at 11:55 am June 24th, 2021
Brazil official warned Bolsonaro
File photo: Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan holds a dose of Bharat Biotech's Covid-19 vaccine called Covaxin, during a vaccination campaign at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital in New Delhi, India, January 16, 2021 Reuters

Brazil has the world's highest death toll from Covid-19 after the United States, with more than half a million people succumbing to the virus

A Brazilian Health Ministry official alerted President Jair Bolsonaro to internal pressure he was facing to buy a Covid-19 vaccine developed by India's Bharat Biotech, a Congressman who attended the meeting said on Wednesday.

A Senate panel probing the government's handling of the pandemic on Wednesday formally called the logistics department official, Luís Ricardo Miranda, to testify.

The Senate committee and prosecutors are investigating why the government sought to close a deal for more expensive vaccines from Bharat, while ignoring early offers last year from Pfizer.

Miranda has told prosecutors he was pressured by Alex Lial Marinho, an aide to one of Bolsonaro's closest allies, former Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello, according to documents seen by Reuters.

Miranda was first quoted in newspaper O Globo on Wednesday saying that he took his concerns, with documents, to Bolsonaro on March 20, and the president said he would speak with the head of the federal police. The meeting was brokered by Miranda's brother, Congressman Luís Miranda, who backed up the account in an interview with Reuters on Wednesday.

"It's a visible attempt to extract public money without a documented purpose, with an inflated value and ulterior motives," the congressman said.

The Health Ministry did not immediately respond to a request to interview Marinho, and Reuters was unable to independently contact him.


Also Read - India may firm up plans to export Bharat Biotech's Covaxin 


In a press briefing on Wednesday, Bolsonaro's Secretary of the Presidency Onyx Lorenzoni said there was no influence peddling, suggesting the allegations were based on forged documents.

The investigations pose a problem for Bolsonaro, with questions likely to follow on how he responded to Miranda's allegations. It also raises awkward questions for Pazuello, who is facing criminal and civil probes into his handling of the pandemic while minister.

Brazil has the world's highest death toll from Covid-19 after the United States, with more than half a million people succumbing to the virus.

Both Miranda brothers are expected to testify before Senate investigators on Friday. Marinho, the aide to the former health minister, has also been called to testify before the probe, which has already unsealed his bank, telephone and tax records.

Brazilian federal prosecutors have opened an investigation into a contract worth 1.6 billion reais ($320 million) for 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech's vaccine. Prosecutors cited comparatively high prices, quick talks and pending regulatory approvals as red flags for the contract signed in February.

In a statement, Bharat said its vaccine pricing had been consistently $15-$20 per dose for foreign governments, a range in which the Brazil contract fell. Despite signing the deal with Brazil in February, Bharat said it had not shipped any vaccines as it awaited approvals and a formal purchase order.

In a statement late on Tuesday, the ministry said it had not made any payment to Bharat for its Covid-19 vaccine, called Covaxin, and the matter was under legal review.

51
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail