House’s Ethics Committee shelves Covaxin whistleblower impeachment

impeachment Covaxin whistleblower
Congressman Luis Miranda. Photo: Cleia Viana/CD/CC-BY 4.0

In a 13-1 vote, the House’s Ethics Committee decided to dismiss an impeachment request against Congressman Luis Miranda — who blew the whistle on the Covaxin vaccine scandal. Back in June, Mr. Miranda told the Senate’s Covid inquiry about “abnormal” pressure being put on Health Ministry employees to greenlight a USD 300 million deal to buy 20 million doses of India’s Covaxin.

He also mentioned Congressman Ricardo Barros, Jair Bolsonaro’s House whip, as the source of the pressure. The Brazilian Labor Party (PTB) filed an impeachment request against Mr. Miranda for allegedly breaking with decorum by accusing a fellow lawmaker — but the Federal Prosecution Office found these claims unsubstantiated.

The federal government suspended the Covaxin deal late in July — four months after its signature — when the Federal Comptroller General flagged up suspicious clauses in the contract. The move came in response to the Senate’s Covid inquiry, which revealed what became one of the most severe corruption scandals the Bolsonaro administration has faced so far.

Since the filing of his impeachment request, Mr. Miranda had made numerous threats against fellow congressmen, openly saying that he wouldn’t go down alone.