Brazil to suspend $325 million COVAXIN deal with India over accusation of irregularities against President

The decision to suspend COVAXIN deal with Bharat Biotech has been taken amid a probe into the accusations of irregularities against the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro.

Created On: Jun 30, 2021 10:34 ISTModified On: Jun 30, 2021 10:34 IST

As reported by ANI, the Health Minister of Brazil has announced that the country will suspend a USD $324 million contracts to buy 20 million doses of India’s Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN.

The decision has been taken amid a probe into the accusations of irregularities against the President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro.

While addressing a press conference on June 29, 2021, with health minister Marcelo Queiroga, the head of the Federal Comptroller General (CGU) Wagner Rosario said that the agency will investigate the process of purchasing the vaccine.

Rosario was quoted saying, “We suspended the deal as a simple preventive measure, since there are complaints that cannot be explained well by the complainant, so we opened a preliminary investigation next week.”

He added, “We have put in a reinforced team for the verification. We hope to be very quick in this process, and we hope that in no more than 10 days we will already have an answer for this analysis”.

Administrative investigation against corruption charges:

The negotiations between the Jair Bolsonaro government and Need Medicines- the Brazilian pharmaceutical company that brokered the deal with Bharat Biotech- have been under the scanner.

The Health Minister of Brazil while talking about the accusation against the country’s President said that the ministry is going to carry out an administrative investigation in order to verify all the aspects of the issue that are being raised. He added, “As soon as we will have more concrete data, we will communicate.”

As per the current situation, the contract is being probed by a country’s Senate Panel investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.

What are the accusations against the Brazilian President?

Reportedly, as the contract for the acquisition of the COVAXIN vaccine was signed by the two sides for the import of 20 million doses of vaccine, the doses were never sent to Brazil, as the National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) of the country denied import requests for the vaccine.

The Brazilian President Bolsonaro has been accused of overlooking the possible corruption in a deal to purchase the COVID-19 vaccines.

This came after three Brazilian senators accused the President of malfeasance before the Supreme Court that he failed to order an investigation against his top aide over the suspicions of massive corruption in the purchase of vaccines.

The opposition has accused that the President knew about the suspected corruption in the COVAXIN deal but failed to intervene.

The President, however, has slammed the senate committee probing the government’s COVID-19 response, saying that it aims at undermining his administration in the country.

Background:

The Brazilian Government in February 2021 had signed a contract with Bharat Biotech for the accusation of 20 million doses of COVAXIN.

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