RIO – The Court of Accounts of the State of Rio de Janeiro (TCE-RJ) states that the State Secretariat of Health of Rio spent R $ 123.58 million more than would be normal when purchasing respirators to equip their units to fight the new coronavirus pandemic.

In an audit, the result of which was released on Friday night, 22, the agency points to the former state secretary of health Edmar José Alves dos Santos and the former undersecretary Gabriell Carvalho Neves Franco dos Santos as the main responsible for the irregularities and requests the presentation of defense or reimbursement to the public coffers of R $ 36.59 million.

The audit was carried out by the General Secretariat for External Control from TCE-RJ between April 27 and 30 and analyzed three contracts signed for the acquisition of a thousand respirators, in the total amount of R $ 183.58 million. Three companies were hired: ARC Fontoura Indústria Comércio e Representações, A2A Commerce Services and Representations and MHS Products and Services.

The study pointed out that respirators were purchased at prices that were, on average, equivalent to triple adopted as a reference in the market, implying an average overprice of approximately 200%. The company ARC Fontoura applied a surcharge of 183%, while A2A, 230% and MHS, 212%.

The audit pointed out seven irregularities: hiring unfit companies to supply the intended equipment; Illicit direction of hiring; advance payment, without guarantee; unjustified absence of price estimates; unjustified absence of quantity estimates; unjustified overpricing; and irregular expense settlement, after receipt of inadequate equipment.

The prepayment without provision of guarantee and the irregular settlement of the expense were the reasons for requesting the reimbursement of more than R $ 36 million to the former secretary and his former right-hand man.

According to the TCE-RJ, strong evidence of fraud was also found in the conduct of the hiring process, which made the Court immediately report the facts to the Public Ministry of the State of Rio (MP-RJ). The report warns both the damage to the purse and the health risk of the entire population of Rio de Janeiro.

“It is worth mentioning the gravity of the conduct of each of the persons referred to, considering that they deliberately admitted the receipt, with the consequent payment, of equipment in flagrant non-compliance with the necessary technical specifications, not only causing damage to the treasury, but putting at risk the health of the entire population of Rio de Janeiro, considering the contracted object and the context in which it is inserted, once again indicating, if not intentionality, a serious fault “, warns the report.

The TCE-RJ charges the two defendants to speak out on five irregularities: the hiring of companies notoriously unfit to fulfill the contract; illicit direction in hiring; contracting without an adequate price estimate; hiring without demonstrating the real demands of the quantity to be acquired; and an estimated surplus of R $ 123.58 million.

The audit also suggests communication to the current State Secretary of Health so that, when making emergency acquisitions, make a price estimate and include in the administrative process the methodology adopted to estimate the desired quantity.

On Friday night, the report tried to hear the two defendants and the three companies involved, without success until the publication of this report.

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