Federal Police launches investigation into Covaxin leaks

covaxin whistleblower
Covaxin whistleblower, Congressman Luís Miranda. Photo: Edilson Rodrigues/SF/CC-BY 4.0

Brazil’s Federal Police launched a probe to investigate leaks of confidential documents and testimonies related to the Covaxin scandal, currently being scrutinized by a Senate inquiry.

Members of the Senate’s hearings committee are investigating alleged irregularities in a government contract to purchase the Indian-made Covaxin vaccine. Once the scandal came to light, the deal was promptly canceled.

Announcing the investigation by way of a press statement, the Federal Police confirmed that it sent the entire Covaxin case record to the Senate’s inquiry on Monday, including videos of testimonies.

“In accordance with criminal procedure laws and with the objective of protecting the investigation, the Federal Police requested that the hearings committee maintain the confidentiality [of the record.” 

However, in a story published on Tuesday, newspaper O Globo leaked footage of Covaxin whistleblower Luis Miranda’s testimony to the feds. In the video, he claims that former Health Ministry Eduardo Pazuello told him he was being put under pressure by House Speaker Arthur Lira to free up department funds. Mr. Pazuello is also under investigation by the Federal Police.

Senate inquiry chairman Omar Aziz said news of the investigation took him by surprise, blaming the leaks on the Federal Police itself. “Leaks were already surfacing in the media before we got access to these videos. The press already knew about it, and there was no movement from the Federal Police to try and find out who was leaking [the documents] within the corporation.”