Brazil’s Top Court Authorizes Bolsonaro Probe Related to Vaccines

Brazil’s Supreme Court Justice Rosa Weber authorized the start of an investigation into President Jair Bolsonaro for possible negligence in the handling of corruption allegations related to the purchase of vaccines from India.

The authorization was published on the top court’s website on Saturday, a day after the prosecutor general office’s request to investigate the president following the federal government’s erratic response to the pandemic.

Negotiations to buy the Covaxin shot produced by Bharat Biotech International Ltd. turned into a scandal when a government ally said he had personally warned Bolsonaro that a contract signed by the Health Ministry to acquire 20 million doses of the vaccine for 1.6 billion reais ($317 million) was plagued with irregularities.

Brazil’s Top Court Authorizes Bolsonaro Probe Related to Vaccines

Weber, who’s responsible for the case at the top court, said that the suspicion of a possible delay of an official act by the president could temporarily suppress the immunity provided for him by the constitution. The justice also authorized the request for data from the Controllership General Office, known as CGU, the audit court known as TCU, General Office of Federal District and the congressional committee that’s already scrutinizing the government’s handling of the pandemic.

Bolsonaro’s office declined to comment following the prosecutor general office’s request Friday. Since the scandal broke, the president has said he can’t follow everything that’s happening in the government and that he trusts his ministers. He has also said he was unfairly accused of corruption for a vaccine purchase that was never concluded.

More than 500,000 people have died in Brazil from the pandemic, the world’s highest death toll after the U.S.

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