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Bruno Pacheco and Gabriel Abreu – from Cenarium

MANAUS – The ministers of the Special Court of the Superior Court of Justice (STJ) accepted to investigate, on Monday, 20, a denunciation against the governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima (PSC), for suspected overpricing in the purchase of respirators during the pandemic in 2020. In response to the action, Lima says he will now be able to prove his innocence during the process.

Besides him, the vice-governor of the State of Amazonas, Carlos Almeida (PSDB), and 12 other people will be investigated in the same process. According to the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) denunciation, Almeida had direct influence on the purchase of 28 pieces of health equipment.

Even the defense lawyer for the governor, Nabor Bulhões, pointing out that the fundamentals of the defense were not taken to the ministers, the magistrates followed the vote of the reporter, the minister Francisco Falcão, to accept the accusation and open criminal proceedings against Wilson Lima and other authorities. The Court did not start the vote that will decide whether the investigations will be made with the governor in office.

The ministers rejected the accusation of criminal organization against Simone Papaiz, former Secretary of Health of Amazonas, and Flávio Antony Filho, current Secretary of the Civil House. The ministers who followed the reporter Francisco Falcão were ministers Nancir Andrighi, Laurita Vaz, João Távio de Noronha, Maria Thereza de Assis, Herman Benjamin, Jorge Mussi, Luiz Felipe Salomão, Benedito Gonçalves, Raul Araújo, Paulo de Tarso Sanseveriano and Isabel Gallotti.

The Special Court of the STJ voted, on Monday, 20, the accusation against the governor (Reproduction/YouTube)

Considerations

When presenting the vote in favor of receiving the accusation, the reporting minister Francisco Falcão pointed Lima as “a participant in the practice of crimes of dismissal of bidding without observance of legal formalities, fraud to the bidding, abusive price increase, overpricing and embezzlement”.

“I consider that the accusation is apt and there is just cause to proceed with the criminal case against Governor Wilson Miranda Lima as an accomplice for the practice of the crimes of dismissal of bidding without observance of legal formalities, fraud to the bidding, abusive price increase, overpricing and embezzlement. I also understand that Wilson Miranda Lima is in the course of the crimes of participating in a criminal organization in the position of leadership, aiming at a crime already consummated and others that would occur after this one”, said Falcão.

In relation to the vice-governor, the Federal Police requested the filing of the denunciation against Carlos Almeida. The Federal Public Ministry (MPF), however, presented concrete evidence of the vice-governor’s involvement in the purchase of 28 respirators. According to the reporter, there is sufficient evidence of Almeida’s influence in the Amazonas State Health Department (formerly Susam), since he appointed Rodrigo Tobias to the position of secretary of the department.

The accusation

The investigations on the case began in 2020, after a denunciation signed by the general subprocurator of the Republic, Lindôra Araújo, against the Government of Amazonas pointing out an irregular purchase of 28 respirators in a wine store. In addition to Wilson Lima, were denounced Carlos Almeida, the chief secretary of the State Civil House, the former Secretary of Health Rodrigo Tobias and 14 other people.

The investigation identified overpriced purchases of respirators; directing the hiring of a company; money laundering; and assembly of processes to cover up the crimes committed with the direct participation of Wilson Lima.

According to the accusation, the health equipment supplier, which had already signed contracts with the government, sold respirators to a wine cellar for R$ 2.48 million. Then, on the same day, the wine cellar resold the equipment to the state for R$ 2.976 million and, when paid by the government, passed the values to the health organization.

In final application, Lindôra Araújo requires the ministry MPF seven measures: the notification of the accused to submit a preliminary response to the criminal action now proposed under Law No. 8. 038/90; the receipt of the accusation, with the summoning of the defendants to offer an answer to the terms of the accusations; the beginning of the investigation, with the hearing of the witnesses listed below, about the narrated facts; at the end of the investigation, that the punitive pretension be judged valid, to convict the defendant as incurring the imputed penalties.

The general sub-procurator of the Republic also requires the decree of loss of public office of the accused public servers, under the terms of Article 92 of the Criminal Code; and that the accused be ordered to pay compensation for collective moral damages in the amount equivalent to R$ 191 thousand, understood as the estimated value of damage caused to the treasury, due to the facts narrated.

Governor manifests himself

In a note released to the press, the governor of Amazonas, Wilson Lima, states that the accusations against him are unfounded and have no concrete basis. “I never received any benefit due to measures I took as governor. The accusation is fragile and does not present any proof or evidence that I practiced any irregular act. Now I will have the opportunity to present my defense and wait, with great tranquility, for my acquittal by the Justice. I have confidence in Justice and I am sure that my innocence will be proven at the end of the process”, said Lima.