TCU suspends auditor suspected of producing false report on deaths by Covid

The Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) decided to suspend, for 45 days, without remuneration, the auditor of the Court Alexandre Marques, who prepared an apocryphal document, which was later used, including by President Jair Bolsonaro (no party), to disseminate a theory without any factual basis of overestimation of deaths by Covid-19.

The commission that analyzed the case at the request of the internal affairs department presented a final report on August 23rd. The report prepared opened the possibility of converting the suspension into a fine.

However, the General Secretariat of Administration of the TCU opted for the toughest path, excluding the possibility of exchanging the suspension for a fine.

Alexandre Figueiredo Costa Silva Marques, the Court auditor who was penalized, claimed to have done an essay on the number of deaths by Covid-19.

However, the technical area to which he was attached did not see any sense in carrying out a study in the terms suggested. He then forwarded the essay to his father, who holds a position of trust at Petrobras.

Next, Bolsonaro said that a TCU document informed that 50% of deaths by Covid-19 could be overestimated. The Court officially denied having prepared any report, judgment or audit in this regard.

Alexandre Marques, TCU auditor, at the CPI on the Pandemic
Alexandre Marques, TCU auditor, at the CPI on the Pandemic / Jefferson Rudy/Agência Senado

On social networks, Alexandre Marques’ essay received a fake TCU stamp. The case led to the opening of an internal investigation, which now leads to suspension, and also placed him in the CPI’s crosshairs.

To the CPI, Alexandre Marques stated that he made a survey of “some public information to provoke a debate with the audit team” and that he would have sent the document to his father, in Word format, without the header with the words “Tribunal de Contas da Unity”.

During his testimony to the CPI in July, Marques confirmed that the “parallel study” contesting the number of deaths by Covid-19 was preliminary and was discarded in TCU. He said he was “outraged” to learn that his father shared the document with the president.

Marques’ father is Bolsonaro’s colleague since the time of the Academia Militar das Agulhas Negras and worked with the president in the Army. In testimony to the commission, Marques stated that they “keep in touch”. The father would have forwarded the document to the president, who presented the survey officially attributing it to the Court and already with the header included.

For TCU, Alexandre Marques broke a series of norms of public administration, among them having acted under a political and ideological bias, to the detriment of the technician.

(*With information from Gabrielle Varela and Julliana Lopes, from CNN, in Brasilia)