Allegations of corruption linked to the misuse of the state’s coronavirus budget have led to the downfall of Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel, who has been suspended from office and awaits an impeachment trial that is almost certainly going to go against him. Now, the Federal Police is zeroing in on at least six other state governors suspected of mishandling funds earmarked for the anti-Covid-19 effort. Meanwhile, investigations into the misappropriation of funds have been opened in all 27 Brazilian states.
With the arrival of the coronavirus, Congress quickly declared a nationwide state of emergency until December 2020. In practical terms, this move lifted a series of controls on public procurements, to allow for local administrations to respond to the crisis as quickly as possible, purchasing medicine and equipment, and hiring staff. However, this period of “anything goes” also offers a golden opportunity for dishonest politicians to siphon public money into their personal bank accounts.