Covid hearings summons officials linked to vaccine scandal

Covid hearings summons officials linked to vaccine scandal
Chairman Omar Aziz, Deputy Chair Randolfe Rodrigues, and Rapporteur Renan Calheiros. Photo: Pedro França/SF/CC-BY 4.0

The Senate’s Covid hearings committee approved requests to summon the government’s House whip Ricardo Barros — who has been implicated in the Covaxin vaccine corruption scandal.

The inquiry also scheduled depositions of other players involved in the probe, including a second round for Congressman Luis Miranda — the first to make allegations against Mr. Barros. This time around, however, his deposition will be held behind closed doors on June 6. “That is necessary because he made further revelations to the press that he didn’t say here,” explained the Covid hearings committee’s chairman, Senator Omar Aziz. 

After speaking to the inquiry on Friday, Mr. Miranda reportedly revealed to the press that, after meeting Mr. Bolsonaro, he was offered hush money from officials lobbying for the USD 300-million deal between the government and representatives of the Indian-made Covaxin vaccine.

Another person to be summoned is Roberto Dias, who was fired yesterday as a logistics director of the Health Ministry. He was accused of demanding a bribe amid a negotiation over AstraZeneca vaccines.