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Bolsonaro says he was unaware of suspicious negotiations over Indian vaccine

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, said Monday that he did not know how the negotiations on the Indian vaccine against Covaxin-19, the subject of an investigation on suspicion of fraud, were going because, he said, there are many ministries in his government. He cannot know what happens in each of them.

“I didn’t even know how the Covaxin negotiations were going because there are 22 ministries,” said the president in statements to a group of supporters outside the Alvorada Palace, his official residence in Brasília.

Jair Bolsonaro. (Photo internet reproduction)
Jair Bolsonaro. (Photo internet reproduction)

“I have no way of knowing what happens in the ministries, I put my trust in the minister,” he added.

The far-right leader has been affected by the scandal surrounding the alleged irregularities in the contract of intent to purchase 20 million doses of the vaccine Covaxin, produced by the Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech.

The case was uncovered by the pro-government congressman Luis Miranda and his brother, Ricardo Miranda, head of imports of the Ministry of Health, who, in a parliamentary investigation commission on managing the pandemic in the country, affirmed that they personally presented these suspicions of corruption to Bolsonaro.

The president, according to the testimony of the Miranda brothers, acknowledged that it was a “serious” matter and even mentioned that it was a “scandal” of the pro-government deputy Ricardo Barros, current representative of the government in the lower house, and that he would put the matter in the hands of the police, which apparently did not happen.

The senators who are part of this investigation committee are now considering reporting directly to the Supreme Court on the indications of an alleged crime of dereliction of duty committed by Bolsonaro.

The ruler acknowledged Monday the meeting with the Miranda but guaranteed that his government “did nothing wrong” and again railed against the members of the parliamentary commission, whom he accused of “inventing narratives” to undermine his image.

“They invented virtual corruption. We did not receive a dose (of the Indian vaccine), nor did we pay a penny,” he said.

For his part, the vice-chairman of the Covid-19 investigation committee, Senator Randolfe Rodrigues, announced last weekend that he would go to the Prosecutor General’s Office to request the opening of an investigation against the head of state for an alleged crime of dereliction of duty.

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