The OK Court investigation into Brazilian Bolsonaro, who faces protests – NBC Chicago
Protests against President Jair Bolsonaro spread across Brazil on Saturday, a day after a Supreme Court judge authorized a criminal investigation into his response to allegations of potential corruption involving a vaccine deal.
Protesters have gathered by the thousands in more than 40 cities to demand the impeachment of Bolsonaro or better access to COVID-19 vaccines.
“If we have a minute of silence for every COVID death, we would be silent until June 2022,” read a poster held aloft by a man in Belem, the state capital of Para. More than half a million Brazilians have died, according to an official. count.
In Friday’s ruling, Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber said the investigation was supported by recent testimony before a Senate committee investigating the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prosecutors will investigate whether Bolsonaro committed the crime of “prevarication,” which consists of delaying or refraining from acting as part of a public official’s duty for reasons of personal interest. Weber did not rule out the possibility that other potential wrongdoing could be investigated.
The investigation comes after Luis Ricardo Miranda, head of the Health Ministry’s import division, said he was under undue pressure to approve the import of 20 million vaccines from Indian pharmaceutical company Bharat Biotech. He said there were irregularities in the invoices – in particular an upfront payment of $ 45 million to a Singapore-based company.
Miranda testified before the Senate committee on June 25 with her brother, Luis Miranda, a lawmaker who until recently was allied with Bolsonaro. The Mirandas said they raised their concerns directly to Bolsonaro, who assured them he would report the irregularities to federal police.
However, the federal police never received a request for an investigation, a federal police source familiar with the investigations told The Associated Press. He spoke anonymously for lack of permission to speak in public
Presidential Secretary-General Onyx Lorenzoni confirmed Bolsonaro had met with the Mirandas, but claimed they presented fraudulent documents. Bolsonaro ordered an investigation into the brothers, he said.
Bharat has denied any wrongdoing regarding the vaccine supply. Bolsonaro has denied any wrongdoing or knowledge of corruption and told reporters on June 28 that he could not know what was going on within his ministries.
The Supreme Court decision giving the green light to an investigation came in response to a request filed by three senators. A majority of senators on the commission of inquiry have previously told the PA that once their investigation is completed, they will vote to recommend that Bolsonaro be charged with procrastination.
The crime carries a prison sentence of three months to one year, plus payment of a fine.
During the protest in Rio de Janeiro, Terezinha Zanata, a 63-year-old retiree, said the government had mismanaged violence, the environment and the rights of indigenous peoples. “This adds to the contempt for the problem of the pandemic,” she said, complaining about the vaccination campaign and a president who has long played down the severity of the disease.
Associated Press reporter Lucas Dumphreys contributed to this report.