Lula’s minister is cited in a complaint about fraud in the purchase of respirators

Lula’s minister is cited in a complaint about fraud in the purchase of respirators
Lula’s minister is cited in a complaint about fraud in the purchase of respirators
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Governor explained the situation live this Tuesday (16) | Photo: Reproduction Twitter

Businesswoman Cristiana Prestes Taddeo, from the company Hempcare, mentioned the name of the Minister of the Civil House, Rui Costa, in a plea bargain regarding a Federal Police investigation investigating fraud in the purchase of respirators, in 2020, amid the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19. At the time, Rui Costa was governor of Bahia.

The information comes from the UOL portal, which had access to the content of the complaint. The businesswoman even returned R$10 million to the public coffers, in return for receiving procedural benefits. She gave details about the irregularity and presented bank statements.

Hempcare received R$48 million from the government of Bahia, but did not deliver any respirators. The businesswoman signed a plea bargain agreement in 2022 with the then deputy attorney general of the Republic, Lindôra Araújo.

According to UOL, Cristiana Prestes Taddeo even reported that the terms of the contract signed with the company Hempcare for the purchase of respirators were unfavorable to the government of Bahia. One of the clauses provided for payment in advance.

The businesswoman also said, in the plea bargain, that Hempcare did not have the necessary documentation to import hospital equipment and that no public agent requested the certificate and registration from Anvisa.

According to the report, she also told investigators that she had received privileged information, and because of this, she presented a price proposal of US$28,900 per respirator. The contract for the sale of 300 respirators totaled R$48 million, according to the dollar exchange rate at the time.

Rui Costa from PT was governor of Bahia for eight years, between 2015 and 2022. The respirators would supply the states of the Northeast Consortium, which he presided over at the time.

Cristiana Prestes Taddeo also told Federal Police agents that the company’s acquisition was mediated by a businessman who introduced himself as a “friend” of then-governor Rui Costa and his wife, Aline Peixoto.

Cristiana Taddeo was not the only person to mention Rui Costa’s name. According to UOL, the former secretary of the Civil House of the government of Bahia Bruno Dauster said in a statement to the PF that he received a positive signal from Rui to move forward in negotiations with Hempcare. The then governor, as he told investigators, was responsible for passing on Dauster’s contact details to the company.

The current minister of the Civil House of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s government denies the accusations. Read more about Rui Costa’s position note in this report.

According to the PF investigation, as narrated by journalist Aguirre Talento from the UOL portal, Hempcare was founded to distribute cannabidiol-based medicines and its share capital was R$100,000. According to records, the company only had two employees.

As the contract was signed and the amount of R$48 million was advanced, the company was unable to purchase the equipment in China or on the national market. Faced with the delay and with the government pressing for the delivery of hospital equipment, Rui Costa ordered the opening of an investigation at the Civil Police of Bahia at the time.

The case also ended up at the Superior Court of Justice (STJ). The PF entered the case after the alleged involvement of the then governor.

What does Rui Costa say?

Throughout my eight years leading the Government of Bahia, I observed strict compliance with the law, always guided by ethical and moral values. Together with my team, I worked tirelessly to minimize the loss of human life during the Covid-19 pandemic, based on scientific principles.

After the non-delivery of the respirators, I ordered the Bahia Public Security Secretariat to open an investigation against those responsible for embezzling the resources intended for the purchase of this equipment. Those involved were arrested by the Civil Police on orders from the Bahian Justice weeks after the complaint.

Following the investigation and investigation by the Federal Police, for almost three years, the Federal Court sent the case to the first instance. It’s strange that the case comes back to the surface now, due to an article based on the words of the main author of the crime.

I emphasize that I have never dealt with any agent or intermediary regarding the purchase of respirators or any other health equipment during my management.

During the difficult years of the pandemic, purchases made by states and municipalities in Brazil and around the world were made with advance payment. This was the prevailing condition at that time.

The case returned to the first instance with the recognition by the Federal Public Ministry and the Judiciary, through the STJ, of the non-existence of any evidence of my participation in the facts discovered in the investigation.

I hope that the investigation is concluded and that those responsible are punished for their crimes, not only the embezzlement of public money, but also the absolutely cruel crime of preventing, through robbery, human lives from being saved.

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The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Lulas minister cited complaint fraud purchase respirators

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