Members of the Covid-19 CPI said they were ‘amazed’ by the easy access of Amilton Gomes de Paula to the Ministry of Health’s leadership; he admitted that he withheld information but received no arrest warrant.
In a testimony full of contradictions, the reverend Amilton Gomes de Paula shielded the president’s government Jair Bolsonaro and it was said “used cunningly for spurious ends”. In the opening session of the second quarter of the work of the CPI to Covid-19, the priest, appointed as an intermediary for the purchase of 400 million doses of vaccines from AstraZeneca, cried, admitted his guilt and asked “Brazil’s apology”. The deponent also admitted that he omitted information from the senators, but did not receive a warrant for his arrest – he was supported by a decision of the president of the Supreme Court (STF), Luiz Fux, which gave him the right not to be subjected “to any measure depriving his freedom or restricting his rights”.
Despite stating that he has no relationship with any member of the federal government, the reverend admitted that he was responsible for opening the doors of the Ministry of Health to Minas Gerais military policeman Luiz Paulo Dominguetti, who introduced himself as a representative of Davati Medical Supply and said he was able to deliver 400 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. Amilton Gomes de Paula was authorized by the former director of Immunization at the Laurício Cruz folder to negotiate the acquisition of immunizing agents – the server was dismissed after the case gained publicity. Early in the session, the senators asked the deponent to explain how he managed to be received by the Health summit so quickly, specifically within a four-hour interval – on February 22 of this year, he sent an email, around 12:30 pm, requesting an agenda to deal with the sale of vaccines. According to their version, the request was not answered but the meeting took place anyway, at 4:30 pm on the same day.
The fact generated revolt from the senators. “That doesn’t stick. This is not in the ministry script at all. Only if the person has free access whenever they want, but you say that there is no relationship”, said the president of the CPI, Omar Aziz (PSD-AM). “This story is very flawed,” he added. Senator Randolfe Rodrigues (Rede-AP), vice president of the collegiate, also joked: “I wanted this efficiency with Pfizer”. The drugmaker sent 81 e-mails to the government, but got no response. The reverend’s version did not convince even the government parliamentarians. Senator Marcos Rogério (DEM-RO), an ally of President Jair Bolsonaro in Congress, said that Gomes de Paula’s testimony left him with “a very cruel doubt.” “I don’t know if Your Lordship was deceived, deceived, or if you are part of a triad of coup plotters, because I defend the government, but I don’t defend any practice that comes close to some suspicion of irregularity,” he said. Rogério also asked if the priest was sorry. At this point, Amilton began to cry. “I am to blame, yes. Today, before coming here, I bent my knees and cried. I apologize to Brazil, what I committed did not please the eyes of God at first”.
Another tense moment in the testimony occurred when senator Humberto Costa (PT-PE) questioned the reverend about messages exchanged between him and Dominguetti – they were obtained from the expertise made on the police officer’s cell phone. In a conversation, he tells the policeman that he had talked “with the boss”. Committee members believe he was referring to President Jair Bolsonaro. “My bravado”, Amilton was limited to saying. Omar Aziz, then, raised the tone: “You have the mission of taking the word of God, how can you say that you are a bravado? If you do not change your testimony, starting today, it will affect your credibility with your flock. Anyone who will see him now will say ‘I don’t know if he’s being bravado or not’. Your Excellency is throwing away all your work with two answers that take away your credibility to say anything from today”. The president of the CPI of Covid-19 also stated that the deponent is “protecting someone”. The understanding is shared by other members of the commission.
Given the inconsistency of the testimony, senator Alessandro Vieira (Cidadania-SE) stated that there was “nothing humanitarian” in the process, classified by the committee’s alternate as “malandragem”. “There is nothing humanitarian about this trickery. Nothing. The objective was financial, hidden under the name of donation. You are a consultant who does not have a project presenting. A missionary who presents himself as a representative of several institutions, but none recognizes his participation. The most absurd thing is not to be here to question a figure like yourself. The most absurd thing is for the government to give space to people like you, like Dominguetti and Cristiano Carvalho [representantes da Davati no Brasil]. While people were dying, you were looking for a financial advantage,” he said. “The offer is a lie, the humanitarian support gibberish too. All after money at the worst time in Brazil’s life. If at any time you had the Christian principle in your conduct, it is past the hour of repentance. It’s time for punishment. The document that you forward to the Ministry of Health is riddled with lies, from the header to the footer”, he added.