During the operation, two arrest warrants and nine search and seizure warrants were served. According to the Federal Comptroller General (CGU), the president of the National Union of Family Agriculture and Solidarity Economy Cooperatives in Paraíba (UNICAFES/PB), Jaciel Franklin, and the former executive manager of the Solidarity Economy Houses, Marcelo Eleutério were arrested. from Melon. They went through a custody hearing around 12pm and had their arrests maintained.
The cooperative’s warehouses work inside Empasa, in the Cristo neighborhood. “During the search and seizure, we verified this situation, of these foodstuffs placed inside a cold room, fish with fruit pulp, cassava, and we had to trigger the health surveillance to interdict the environment”, said the prosecutor. of Justice Rafael Linhares.
More than 6 tons of spoiled fish were seized in operation in Paraíba — Photo: Disclosure / Health Surveillance of João Pessoa
About five tons of sweet potatoes, six tons of fish and one ton of cassava were seized, in addition to fruit pulp. CGU suspects that the material would be distributed to municipalities and the state during Holy Week.
“The food was expired and spoiled, not to mention the way of storage, everything was wrong. Food with an expiration date of September 2020, an unbelievable thing. We are collecting all the food, notifying and weighing each one and making a photographic record. Then they go be taken to the sanitary landfill where they will be incinerated”, said Alline Grisi, director of sanitary surveillance in João Pessoa.
Operation 5764 investigates fraud in the purchase of food — Photo: Antônio Vieira/TV Cabo Branco
‘Operation 5764’ refers to the law that defined the national cooperative policy. The investigations find irregularities in the purchase of food through contracts signed between cooperatives, the government of Paraíba and municipal governments in the state.
According to the investigators, the contracting out of the investigated bid waivers totaled BRL 754,000, of which BRL 123,000 corresponds to damages to the treasury already detected. The amounts contracted with the government exceed 70 million reais.
The contracts are related to food provided to families in social vulnerability, school meals and food for hospitals and health units.
The CGU reported that it found the involvement of public and private agents, private entities and third parties, whose identities were not documented, characterizing a corrupt structure of an undefined dimension.
Tons of sweet potatoes unfit for consumption were seized in the operation — Photo: Disclosure / Health Surveillance of João Pessoa
According to prosecutor Rafael Linhares, the food that was seized will also be investigated. “Of course, we will have to investigate this in more detail. This was a situation that we have now faced, it was not part of the investigative scope of the operation and we need to understand this dynamic”, he said.
The superintendent of CGU Severino Queiroz, explained that everything that was seized will be investigated and that the next step of the operation is to carry out the reports that will be forwarded to the MPPB to mount the complaint.
“We stumbled upon this spoiled material, these cold storage chambers, a series of irregular situations that need to be investigated. This material could be being kept to be sold to the public authorities and we cannot rule out this possibility, given that the cooperative continues to participate in waiver of bidding”, he adds. Severino.
The investigations are carried out by the Public Management Observatory, formed by the Special Action Group Against Organized Crime (Gaeco-MPPB), Civil Police, Military Police, Secretary of Finance and General Controllership of the State, TCE and General Controllership of the Union.
What the investigators say
Jaciel Franklin’s defense informed that the entire bidding procedure took place within normal limits, at least until the time of delivery of the products. “If there was an irregularity afterwards, it’s not up to him,” said lawyer Mozart de Lucena. According to the defense, Jaciel Franklin is available to cooperate with the investigations.
In a note sent to the press at around 12 pm, Marcelo Eleutério’s family informed that they were waiting for the lawyer to say something because they were not fully aware of what was happening. The note says that “Marcelo was a public servant and complied with the determination of his superiors”, and that the family does not understand why these superiors “have not been called for clarification”.