The Public Ministry, together with the Federal Audit Court (TCU), asked the Court to investigate possible irregularities in hiring by the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (Funai) during the covid-19 pandemic. The representation, signed by Deputy Attorney General Lucas Furtado, points out that, in 2020, during the government of former president Jair Bolsonaro, the body determined several measures to protect the health of indigenous people.
“Such actions, in theory, would be aimed at preventing the spread of the virus, ensuring food security in indigenous communities and distributing hygiene and cleaning items”, says the document to which the Mail had access. “However, what occurred in practice was the use of the entity for purposes other than what would be expected. As recently reported by the press, there were signs of irregularities in Funai’s hiring, carried out during the pandemic.”
The Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) allegedly observed an overbilling of Funai funds, which even involved basic food baskets distributed to indigenous people during the pandemic. A Look revealed that in a contract in Acre, worth R$3 million, the deviations reached R$378 thousand. The CGU reportedly found irregular expenses worth more than R$100,000.
“The CGU is already monitoring contracts carried out in Acre that involve million-dollar contracts. In my view, such evidence, which can already rely on further information from the internal control body, must be subject to verification by this Court of Auditors so that due reparation can be made to the treasury”, argues Furtado.
The deputy attorney general also points out that there are investigations in other bodies into irregularities in Funai contracts during Bolsonaro’s government. “Funai itself has currently confirmed that it has verified irregularities in contracts signed in previous years and which involved the distribution of food to indigenous communities during the pandemic.”
The document requests that, in addition to the investigation, measures be taken “to hold the agents involved accountable, without prejudice to sending a copy to the Federal Public Ministry for adoption of the relevant measures”.
“In addition to the materiality of the resources, I understand that the signs of irregularities committed by the Executive Branch are related to the promotion of public policies affecting communities that needed government action to ensure their social well-being. We are faced with signs of corruption practiced by the then government in contracts for the purchase of basic items such as food”, he assesses.
In May, Funai confirmed that it had found inconsistencies in bidding processes when purchasing food and other products distributed to indigenous people. The agency stated, in a note, that “it identified the lack of qualification of items in the food baskets distributed to indigenous peoples in the action to combat covid-19 by the previous administration”.
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