Supreme Federal Minister Luís Roberto Barroso determined that Senator Chico Rodrigues, from the DEM, be removed from office for three months. The Federal Police caught the senator with money in his underwear in an operation that investigates the diversion of money to combat the pandemic in Roraima.
In the decision, Minister Luís Roberto Barroso reproduced the police officers ‘report of the search and seizure, this Wednesday (14), at Senator Chico Rodrigues’ house, in Boa Vista.
The Federal Police had already found R $ 10,000 and US $ 6,000 in the safe in Chico Rodrigues’ room when the senator asked if he could go to the bathroom. A delegate said yes, but he would have to accompany the senator. It was at that time that the policeman noticed a large volume, in a rectangular shape, on the back of Senator Chico Rodrigues’ robes, who wore blue shorts, like pajamas, and a yellow shirt.
The deputy then suspected that the senator was hiding money in his clothes. He asked what was in the shorts. The senator was quite startled and said there was nothing.
The delegate then decided to search the senator. According to the report, at first it was found inside his underwear, close to his buttocks, bundles of money that totaled the amount of R $ 15 thousand.
Shortly afterwards, in the office, the police asked the senator if there were any more amounts of cash. The third time he was questioned – very angry, according to the report -, Chico Rodrigues reached into his underwear and pulled out other bundles of money, which totaled R $ 17,900. The police searched the senator again and found another R $ 250 in his underwear.
The money in the buttocks was revealed this Wednesday by the magazine “Crusoé”. Chico Rodrigues could have been arrested in the act, had he not been a senator. The constitution provides for parliamentary immunity. The senator could only be arrested for flagrant unspeakable crime.
In representation to the Supreme Court, the Federal Police pointed out signs of crime in flagrante delicto and asked for his preventive detention, in addition to his removal from office. The Attorney General’s Office defended home collection with electronic monitoring.
Barroso saw no evidence of a crime in the act and rejected the arrest, but decided to remove Chico Rodrigues from office and prohibit him from communicating with the other investigated: “The concrete seriousness of the crimes investigated also indicates the need to guarantee public order. The senator would be using his parliamentary function to divert money destined to face the biggest pandemic of the last 100 years, at a time of severe scarcity of public resources and when the country already has more than 150 thousand dead due to the disease. ”
Chico Rodrigues will be out of the Senate for 90 days, a term that can be renewed. The money seized is available to the courts. According to the Office of the Comptroller General of the Union, which also acts in the investigations, about R $ 20 million would have been diverted from public coffers.
The investigators’ suspicion is that the senator was involved in an overpricing scheme in the purchase of equipment for healthcare facilities and rapid tests to detect Covid-19. Purchases were made by the Health Secretariat of Roraima.
According to investigations, the gang diverted money from parliamentary amendments to companies hired by the state government through fraud or bidding waivers. These companies would distribute the bribe. Other politicians would also be part of the same scheme.
According to the police, one of the nuclei of the investigation involves Senator Chico Rodrigues, Quantum Empreendimentos em Saúde, his partner, the senator’s parliamentary advisor and her husband – appointed as the senator’s operator -, in addition to the then Secretary of Health and a public servant, “all acting in divisions of tasks, in clear characteristics of criminal organization”.
The investigation points out that the servant of the Secretariat of Health who denounced the scheme is Francisvaldo de Melo Paixão, a servant he kept in office, despite the will of the Secretary of Health himself, dedicated to monitoring the execution of his parliamentary amendments.
In the report sent to the Supreme Court, the PF says that “the company Quantum has Mr. Roger Henrique Pimentel as partner, who apparently is married to Sandrea de Araújo Xaud, sister of Samara de Araújo Xaud, parliamentary assistant in the office of Senator Chico Rodrigues”.
The police say that there are indications that Chico Rodrigues has used the political influence inherent in his public function to favor, within the scope of contracts signed by the Roraima Health Department, private companies linked to him, directly or indirectly, diverting money destined to the combating Covid-19.