Latin America

Prosecutors to Investigate Brazil President Bolsonaro’s Alleged Involvement in Vaccine Graft Case

Earlier this week, opposition lawmakers in Brazil launched a fresh bid to impeach President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been hit by more corruption allegations linked to criminally mishandling the acquisition of coronavirus vaccines.

The office of Brazil’s attorney general announced on 2 July it’s probing claims that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro failed to report corruption linked to the purchase of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro gestures during a ceremony at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, June 29, 2021

Earlier this week, Brazil’s health minister announced the country would suspend a $324 million Indian COVID-19 vaccine contract that has mired Bolsonaro in accusations of irregularities.

Brazilian federal prosecutors also opened a probe into the deal, citing comparatively high prices, suspiciously quick talks, and pending regulatory approvals as red flags. It’s also being probed by a Senate panel investigating the government’s handling of the pandemic.

On 30 June, Brazilian lawmakers and lawyers filed a collective impeachment request against Bolsonaro. The president himself denies any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil has increased by 65,163 within the past 24 hours, bringing the total number to 18,622,304. Brazil has the world’s second highest death toll behind the United States with more than 604,000 fatalities, and third in the number of confirmed cases after the US and India.

Bolsonaro has been heavily criticised for his handling of the pandemic, including the lack of a coordinated national response.

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