Former Rio Health Secretary arrested

Former Rio Health Secretary arrested
Former Rio Health Secretary Edmar Santos. Photo: Still via G1

Edmar Santos, former Health Secretary of Rio de Janeiro, was arrested this Friday morning for alleged misuse of funds. He is under investigation for irregularities in state government contracts intended to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, according to G1. 

The arrest was carried out by the State Prosecution Service as part of a sting entitled Operation Merchants of Chaos. The operation, which began in May, is attempting to take down a criminal organization that has looted more than BRL 18 million from Rio’s coffers.

The Brazilian Report has reported on this case previously: the money was earmarked for the purchase of ventilators, but more than two months after the original delivery date, most of the ventilators have yet to arrive and the money has not been returned to the public coffers, according to state prosecutors. 

To make things worse, the ventilators that were delivered were unsuitable for Covid-19 patients. Rio de Janeiro Governor, Wilson Witzel, is also under investigation as part of the case.

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