The Director of Logistics at the Ministry of Health, Roberto Ferreira Dias, asked for a bribe of US$ 1 per dose when negotiating the purchase of vaccines from AstraZeneca with Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira, representative of the company Davati Medical Supply. The information was revealed this Tuesday (June 29, 2021) in report of Folha de S.Paulo.
According to Folha, Davati approached the Ministry of Health to negotiate 400 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, with an initial proposal of US$ 3.5 each.According to the report, the characters in the story are:
- Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira — representative of Davati Medical Supply;
- Roberto Ferreira Dias — Director of Logistics at the Ministry of Health;
- Ricardo Barros (PP-PR) — leader of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro in the Chamber and responsible for the appointment of Roberto Ferreira Dias, effective on January 8, 2019, in the administration of former minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta (DEM) at the head of the Ministry, according to Folha;
- Cristiano Alberto Hossri Carvalho — attorney at Davati Medical Supply in Brazil and responsible for introducing Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira to Folha de S.Paulo newspaper;
- Élcio Franco Filho — former executive secretary of the Ministry of Health who would have received Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira to deal with the import of vaccines;
The newspaper reports that Luiz Paulo Dominguetti Pereira met Roberto Ferreira Dias on February 25, at a restaurant in Brasília. “The path of what happened behind the scenes with Roberto Dias was a very dark, very disgusting thing”, Dominguetti told the newspaper.
“I said that we had the vaccine, that the company was a strong company, Davati. And then he said: ‘Look, to work within the ministry, you have to compose with the group’. And I said: ‘But how to compose with the group? What composition would that be?’” Dominguetti told Folha.
According to him, Dias stated that the purchase would not proceed within the Ministry if he did not compose with the group. “[Ele disse] that there is a group that only worked within the ministry, if we got something more, we had to increase the value of the vaccine, that the vaccine would have to have a different value than the proposal we were proposing”.
”I said that there was no way, I couldn’t do it, even because the vaccine came from abroad and they didn’t do it, they didn’t operate that way. He told me: ‘Think carefully, if you want to sell vaccine in the ministry, it has to be that way.” said.
Folha asked what this ‘form’ would be. “Add 1 dollar”, answered. According to him, $1 per dose. “And, look, it was a weird thing because it wasn’t just me, it was [Dias] and two more. He was an Army soldier and a businessman from Brasília”, said Dominguetti.
Folha de S.Paulo claims that it reached Dominguetti through Cristiano Alberto Hossri Carvalho, who presents himself as the company’s attorney in Brazil and also appears in negotiations with the Ministry. He told the newspaper that Luiz Paulo Dominguetti has represented the company since January.
The Davati representative also claims that he was at the ministry, with Élcio Franco Filho, former executive secretary of the Ministry, and with Roberto Dias, and made an offer of the vaccine. “I didn’t buy it because I didn’t want to. They validated that the vaccine was available.” stated.
According to Dominguetti, the dinner was on the eve of an official agenda with Roberto Dias at the Ministry of Health.“Then I said that I couldn’t do it, that there was no way, that the vaccine would have to be that way, for the price that was being offered, that it was that one and that we couldn’t do it, that there was no way. Then he said that I had to think straight and that he was going to put my name in the ministry’s agenda, that that night I would think and that the next day he would call me”, he told Folha.
The Davati representative stated that he arrived at the Ministry to meet Dias, who asked him for documentation. “I told him that they would have to submit a purchase proposal from the ministry to send the documentation, the vaccine certifications, but that some vaccine documentation I would be able to advance”, he stated.
“There he [Dias] he told me, ‘It’s in a room over there’. And put me in a room next door there. He told me he had a meeting. From that, I got a call asking if I was going to get it right. Then I said no, there was no way”, he explained to the newspaper.
He claims that after that he was called, they said they would get in touch with Davati and “then never again”.
“Then we tried in other ways, we tried to talk to Élcio Franco, we explained the situation to him too, it didn’t do any good. Nobody wanted a vaccine”, he stated.
According to him, Roberto Dias stated that “there was a group, which had to attend to a group, that this group operated within the ministry, and if it didn’t please this group, we wouldn’t be able to sell.”
Asked by Folha what “group” this would be, he replied: “I do not know. I don’t know who the characters were. When he started this conversation, I didn’t follow up anymore because I already knew that the train was not good”.
According to Folha, Roberto Dias was nominated for the position by the leader of the Government of Jair Bolsonaro in the Chamber, Ricardo Barros (PP-PR). Barros was quoted by Deputy Luis Miranda (DEM-DF) last Friday (June 25) in testimony to the CPI (Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry) of Covid. According to him, President Jair Bolsonaro showed suspicion of Barros when he learned of alleged irregularities in the purchase of the Indian vaccine Covaxin. The Ministry of Health decided to suspend the contract with the Indian vaccine this Tuesday (29.Jun.2021).
After the publication of the report, Ricardo Barros denied being responsible for the nomination of Roberto Dias. “In relation to Folha’s story, I reiterate that Roberto Ferreira Dias was appointed to the Ministry of Health at the beginning of the current presidential term, in 2019, when he was not aligned with the government. So, I repeat, it’s not my nomination. I am totally unaware of Davati’s complaint”, published on his Twitter page.