RIO DE JANEIRO — Brazilian federal police raided the government palace of Para state in the Amazon region as well the governor’s home as part of an investigation into alleged fraud in the purchase of ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
A police statement issued Wednesday said the alleged fraud stemmed from the acquisition of ventilators worth millions of dollars, done so without a call for bids as allowed by state of emergency protocols during the pandemic. The equipment was delayed and ultimately useless for treating people with COVID-19.
The statement says police are investigating alleged money laundering and corruption.
Para Gov. Helder Barbalho is the second governor to be investigated in relation to suspect medical expenditures during the pandemic.
Like Rio de Janeiro’s governor, whose residence was raided last month, Barbalho has been a critic of President Jair Bolsonaro’s rejection of quarantine measures to contain spread of the virus.
Both governors have denied any wrongdoing.