Covaxin row: Brazil top court gives nod for probing charges against Bolsonaro – Check Report

Covaxin row: Brazil top court gives nod for probing charges against Bolsonaro

Covaxin row: Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber late on Friday authorized an investigation of President Jair Bolsonaro by the top prosecutor’s office, or PGR, for dereliction of duty in the process of procuring an Indian Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin, according to a copy of the decision seen by Reuters.

The president has been implicated in allegations of irregularities surrounding a 1.6 billion reais ($316 million) contract signed in February for 20 million Covaxin doses with a Brazilian intermediary for the vaccine’s maker, Bharat Biotech.

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A Brazilian Senate committee investigating the administration’s handling of the pandemic has cited suspicions of overpricing and corruption related to the contract. After allegations of irregularities surfaced, the government suspended the contract.

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Brazil has suffered the world’s second-highest number of Covid-19 deaths.

Brazilian federal prosecutors and the comptroller general’s office, or CGU, are also separately investigating the alleged irregularities in the deal. The case allegedly involves the government’s chief whip in the lower house of Congress, Ricardo Barros, according to lawmakers.

Bolsonaro and Barros denied any wrongdoing.

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The investigation of the president by the PGR had to be formally authorized by the Supreme Court. In her decision, Justice Weber gave authorities 90 days for collection of evidence pertaining to the case.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.