The Special Court of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) received this Monday (20) the complaint against the governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima (PSC), for alleged crimes committed in the overpriced purchase of pulmonary ventilators (respirators) for the treatment of Covid-19 victims in the state. The decision was unanimous. This means that, since Monday, the governor has been formally a defendant in a criminal case.
The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) charges the governor with the offenses of irregular dismissal from bidding, fraud in the bidding process, embezzlement, leadership in a criminal organization and embarrassment to investigations.
The court also found the deputy governor of Amazonas, Carlos Alberto Filho, and 12 other people, including former state secretaries, public servants and businessmen, as defendants. On the other hand, the collegiate rejected the accusation against former Health Secretary Simone Papaiz and against Flávio Cordeiro – in these two cases, the court understood that there was not enough evidence to admit the accusation.
::June 3, 2021: PF accuses the diversion of R$ 22.8 million to fight the pandemic in AM and arrests six::
Loss of more than R$ 2 million to Amazonas
According to the MPF, the crimes occurred in the purchase of 28 respirators, whose overpricing would have caused damage of more than R$ 2 million to the public coffers. The market price of a respirator was around R$17,000, but the items were purchased by the government for over R$100,000 each.
In the complaint, the MPF describes irregularities in the way emergency purchases are carried out, in issuing opinions and in dispensing with bidding, in addition to pointing out the diversion of public resources destined to fight the pandemic in Amazonas.
Regarding Governor Wilson Lima, the MPF records that the Chief Executive would have acted directly so that a businessman would take care of the procedures for the purchase of respirators – intermediation that would later have generated fraudulent purchases. In addition, the MPF pointed out that documents were found in the governor’s office describing the companies interested in selling the equipment and the prices offered, which would demonstrate that the agent monitored the acquisition process.
::May 11, 2020: Justice blocks property of entrepreneurs who sold respirators to the state of Pará::
Respirators were not used to treat serious patients
The rapporteur of the criminal action, Minister Francisco Falcão, highlighted that, in addition to the seriousness of the purchase of overpriced pulmonary ventilators, the information provided by the companies involved indicated, even before the acquisition by the Amazonian government, that the equipment was not capable of treat critically ill patients affected by Covid-19.
Falcão also pointed out that, in the actions to hire fans, a wine company that apparently did not have the technical competence to work in the area of medical equipment took part in the business.
In the case of Governor Wilson Lima, the minister pointed out that the accusations are not mere conjectures, but actual evidence that the head of the state Executive followed the emergency purchase process and interfered, acting with leadership on the criminal organization that was formed to sell the government overpriced equipment.
In his vote, the rapporteur also understood that it was not a case of dismemberment of the process in relation to the defendants who do not have jurisdiction, since the full maintenance of the action in the STJ, according to him, favors the search for the truth and prevents the delivery of decisions conflicting.
Edition: Vinícius Segalla