WorldDominguetti reaffirms request for a bribe in vaccine negotiations, but falls into...

Dominguetti reaffirms request for a bribe in vaccine negotiations, but falls into disbelief by deputy audio

Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira became a central character overnight after speaking with all the words, in an interview published by the newspaper Folha de São Paulo last Tuesday, the director of Logistics at the Ministry of Health, Roberto Ferreira Dias, asked him for a bribe of one dollar per negotiated vaccine. In his testimony at the CPI of the Pandemic this Thursday, he repeated the accusation as soon as he began his testimony with all the details he had already revealed to the leaf as a self-employed representative for Davati Medical Supply, which would have AstraZeneca’s vaccine offer to the ministry. Davati’s initial proposal was $3.5 and the available batch would be 400 million doses. “We have to improve this value, for more”, says Dominguetti, who heard from Roberto Dias. It would be a dollar-per-dose proposal.

Dominguetti was well intentioned in the first moments: “I came to report what I experienced here in Brasília during a dinner and show the procedure,” he said. The dinner to which he referred was at the Vasto restaurant, in a shopping center in Brasília, in the presence of two Ministry servers, in the case Roberto Dias and Lieutenant Colonel Marcelo Blanco, who was a Health advisor until January. The corrupt proposal had come from both, he said. The accusations made by the deponent had already brought down Ferreira Dias on the same Tuesday, when the server was exonerated by the folder. In a statement, Dias denies having made the bribe proposal.

Dominguetti’s presence promised advances in the CPI investigations, but throughout his speech he ended up disrupting the session by exhibiting an audio in which deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) allegedly deals with purchase negotiations, insinuating that the congressman had negotiated with Davati. The audio with Miranda’s voice speaks in customers, sell, but does not mention the word vaccine. Dominguetti also suggested that he used the word “brother”, possibly alluding to Luis Ricardo Miranda, the deputy’s brother, who works at the Ministry of Health – the Miranda brothers stated at the CPI that there was an attempt to divert public resources in the purchase of another vaccine , the Indian Covaxin. The surprise with the audio generated tension and the unease among the senators was immediate. “Tortoise does not climb trees,” said the president of the CPI, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM), using the expression that characterizes something purposefully planted to change the direction of the prose. Dominguetti explained that he received the audio from Christiano Alberto Carvalho, an accredited representative of Davati.

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There was shouting until deputy Luís Miranda himself was consulted and it was discovered that the audio was from 2020 and had been edited. If he was already seen with suspicion by the government, due to the serious accusation against the ministry, from then on Dominguetti started to be seen as an infiltrator by the opposition senators of the Government. “This witness was planted here,” said senator Fabiano Contarato (Rede-ES), who asked for Dominguetti’s arrest. “He has to get out of here”, completed senator Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE).

The deponent was not arrested, but had his cell phone seized. Omar Aziz tried to calm things down, but Dominguetti was clearly more cornered. Senators Marcos Rogério (DEM-RO) and Luiz Carlos Heinz recalled that he presented himself as a business representative in the health area for municipalities in other parts of the country. Rogério weighed his hand when claiming to exist “swindling, malpractice of those who act as middlemen”. Flavio Bolsonaro, the president’s eldest son, said that the deponent had tried to sell “land on the moon” and that the CPI wanted to “put his father on the same shelf as Lula”, referring to suspicions of corruption. He was forced to put the mask back on his face during his speech.

Dominguetti’s Facebook profile and the seized cell phone show the deponent’s affinity with some pocketnarist ideas, and the senators began to treat him as a Trojan Horse, someone trying to discredit the CPI. A military police officer still active in Minas Gerais, Dominguetti said he was an autonomous representative for the sale of medicines as an activity to supplement income. “It’s an organized operation to discredit Luis Miranda,” he told Globe News Senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP).

With the audio, Dominguetti ended up changing the course of the session. If the idea was to enroll Miranda, the pivot of accusations of irregularities in the negotiations of the Indian vaccine Covaxin, he became the target of all sorts of uncomfortable questions from then on. It also allowed the accused to defend themselves by increasing their discredit. Meanwhile, server Dias, accused by the PM, released his first statement: “It is a fact that on February 25 I went to dinner at Vasto restaurant (…), meeting there with the former deputy director of logistics, Colonel Marco Blanco (…) accompanied by mr. Dominguetti”, says Dias. But, says the exonerated director, “the subject of bribes, request for money, facilitation… It was NEVER dealt with at the table or in any environment where I was present.”

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Dominguetti’s testimony also left a series of open questions, starting with the offer on behalf of AstraZeneca, which had made it clear that there was no intermediary, since they negotiate directly with Governments. Nor could he explain why he took the deputy’s audio if he had a much more decisive statement to make. The Government, in turn, does not explain why it exonerated Roberto Ferreira Dias if Dominguetti was lying.

The clarity of your Dominguetti accusations in the interview with leaf it was already creating suspicions about its role, especially as AstraZeneca reported that it had no local representatives. But Davati Medical Supply has confirmed that Dominguetti acts as the group’s stand-alone salesperson. “He only intermediated the company’s negotiation with the Government, introducing Mr. Roberto Dias”, explained the company in a note. “About the complaint reported by Dominguetti, that the Ministry of Health had requested a “commission” for the acquisition of vaccines, Davati claims that it has no knowledge.”

The company explains that “on its own initiative, it contacted the Brazilian government to see if there was interest” in a batch of 400 million doses of Astra Zeneca, as the company had located a distributor who claimed to have this batch. “This is a normal negotiation procedure, practiced by all allocators and distributors”, he explained. This is another question that remains open. How could they deliver the vaccine if AstraZeneca was no longer able to deliver it in other markets with which it already had contracts?

The first contact of Davati, a subsidiary of the Texas-based Davati Group, had been made by the accredited representative of the group, Christiano Alberto Carvalho, who was at the Ministry of Health in February to discuss the possible negotiation, but had no progress. “The company did not receive a return from the Brazilian government with formalization of interest or prospect of closing the deal”, he says. It was then that Dominguetti made the bridge for sale.

The CPI will resume next Tuesday. For the 8th of July, the testimony of Ricardo Barros (PP-PR), leader of the Government in the Chamber, cited by Jair Bolsonaro as involved in the “roll” of Covaxin, according to Luis Miranda, is scheduled. Roberto Ferreira Dias, former director of Logistics at the Ministry of Health accused of having made the bribe proposal, will also speak to the senators.

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