When Brazil declared a state of calamity in March, mayors, governors, and the federal government became exempt from several checks-and-balances controls over public contracts as a way to fast-track procurement for the Covid-19 fight. But the move also opens the door for corrupt politicians and business owners to embezzle money. Since the beginning of the pandemic, federal prosecutors have launched 410 probes into suspected cases of corruption with Covid-19 money.
In São Paulo, state prosecutors are investigating a USD 100-million contract signed by governor João Doria with a Chinese company for the purchase of 3,000 ventilators at ten times market value. The administration claims that intense international demand made prices skyrocket.
In Rio de Janeiro, former Deputy Executive Secretary Gabriell Neves was arrested for allegedly defrauding a BRL 9.9-million contract for 50 ventilators.