Brazil’s health minister had announced on Tuesday that, on the advice of the federal comptroller, the CGU, it will suspend a $324 million Indian vaccine contract that has engulfed President Jair Bolsonaro in allegations of irregularities. After whistleblowers raised suspicions about anomalies in the arrangement to buy 20 million doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin injection, it has become a headache for Bolsonaro.
An employee from the Ministry of Health claimed that he directly informed the president of his worries. During a press conference, Brazil’s Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga said his team will investigate the charges while the suspension was in effect.
‘According to the preliminary analysis of the CGU, there are no irregularities in the contract but, for compliance, the Health Ministry chose to suspend the contract for a more in-depth analysis,’ the ministry said in a statement. Earlier on Thursday, a media report was released which said, that the ministry had decided to cancel the contract.
Brazilian federal prosecutors have launched an inquiry into the agreement, noting the contract’s comparably high prices, fast-talks, and pending regulatory clearances as red flags.