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By Esmee Verbeek, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Four companies in Brazil’s health sector are caught defrauding the UFRJ Pediatrics Hospital for public funds. A report last night by O Globo’s “Fantástico” program showed that the companies were exchanging bribes – on camera – to get contracts from the public hospital.

Suspects caught on tap describing types of payment in the hospital fraud case, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Suspects caught on video describing types of payment in the hospital fraud case, image recreation.

Three out of four are now investigated by the Ministério Público Federal (Public Federal Ministry) for various irregularities.

Victor Poubel, head of the precinct of financial crimes of Rio’s Federal Police, said the Polícia Federal (PF) will also open an investigation. According to Poubel, all persons that appear in the video will be summoned to testify, and all contracts will be investigated.

Though the investigation is ongoing, the companies all together received R$500 million over the last few years for various contracts, all made out of public funds.

Director of the pediatric institute of UFRJ, Edmilson Migowski sees it as theft: “When you steal from the health sector, you kill people. They should get a sentence.”

Jorge Hage, of the ‘Ministro da Controladoria Geral da Uniao’ (General Controller of the Union), explained that it already had happened. Hage: “More than 3.5 million people in the public sector have punished over the last eight years due to corruption.”

The four companies – car seller Toesa Service; garbage collector Locanty Soluções, Bella Vista Refeições Industriais (industry packaging) and Rufolo Serviços Técnicos e Construções (technical services and construction work) – are among the largest suppliers of the União (Union).

During the TV report, representatives of companies spoke in codes during the first contact with the administrator, but soon speak openly about bribery. “I want the service. You choose what you want. I make my price, boto … What is the percentage? Ten?” Renata Cavas, manager of the Rufolo asks, before closing at twenty percent.

Negotiations were all filmed from three different angles in the TV report, and show the negotiations up until the last moment before releasing the money. According to Fantástico, none of the deals caught on tape had been completed.

Read more (in Portuguese)

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