The government is using a massive public health crisis, the Coronavirus epidemic, to siphon billions of pounds into the pockets of friends who have no experience in the field of PPE or public health.
Ministers have told Whitehall departments, the NHS and local councils that they need to act fast because of the public health risks posed by the pandemic. They could therefore, sign deals without advertising or calling in competitive bids.
Official data analysed by the Guardian shows the government have awarded 115 contracts under this ‘principle’ (pardon the pun). They include two contracts worth more than £200 million.
One of these was the £250 million PPE contract awarded to Ayanda Capital, an investment house set up for private wealth tax avoidance.
This was AFTER the firm had charged the NHS £150 million for 43 million face masks which failed regulatory tests and could not be used.
As Craig Murray reports, “Ayanda Capital would fail every single test in normal procurement criteria to supply PPE to the NHS. I can see no evidence that anybody in the company had ever seen PPE except when visiting the dentist. They appear to have no medical expertise, no established medical procurement network, no quality control inspection ability, no overseas shipment agents, no warehousing or logistics facilities.”
Working on this principle, any one of us could offer PPE services to the government, be awarded a contract and then go looking for a ‘sub-contractor’ to carry out the work.
The Tories have a past history of this behaviour. Remember the ‘ferry company’ which had no ferries?
The Ayanda deal was put together by Andrew Mills, a “government adviser”, who is also an “adviser” to Ayanda Capital. He set this all up and established a company to make off with a personal fortune.
There are now hundreds of Ayandas involved, but let’s take a look at two of them. Public First, a company owned by James Frayne and Rachel Wolf. Frayne has worked on political campaigns with Dominic Cummings. Wolf was awarded a £500,000 contract to work with Michael Gove to promote his ‘free schools’ when he was Education Secretary. She went on to write the 2019 Tory election manifesto.
Public First were awarded the untendered contract to test the effectiveness of the government’s coronavirus messaging, worth £840,000. It was issued by the Cabinet Office, which is run by …. Michael Gove. The only written record is a letter retrospectively offering the contract that had already been granted. There was no advertisement for the work, no competition and no official notice of the award.
It gets worse A pest control company, Pest Fix, were awarded a £109 million untendered contract to supply urgently needed gloves, gowns and masks to the NHS. Their company profile tells us that , “At PestFix we hold stock of a full range of rat poison, mouse poison and other rodent control.”
In the two weeks before Pest Fix was awarded this contract the government was approached by 16,000 companies who had no rat poisons on offer but who could supply PPE. Some of them had long track records in the manufacture or supply of PPE, and had stocks that could be deployed immediately.
Remember that the necessity to avoid tendering is because of the urgency of the situation. Yet no deadlines were set for Pest Fix and the government recently admitted that “none of the isolation suits delivered (by Pest Fix) has been supplied into the NHS”. Maybe the rats got to them first.
On and on it goes. There is the employment agency with net assets of only £623 that was awarded an £18 million contract for face masks. A confectionary company given a £100 million contract to supply PPE, and a £250 million contract given to a ‘family office’ registered in Mauritius whose speciality is currency trading.
Daniel Bruce, the chief executive of anti-corruption campaigners Transparency International UK, said, “the government should not use the pandemic as a way of loosening controls over accountability.” Wish on.
I write this as a person with a medical hisory that makes me high-risk. As I sit in my flat under voluntary house arrest, am I supposed to take pleasure in the knowledge that we are being ruled by gangsters with posh accents who are doing very well out of this public health crisis?
Johnson’s Tories view government as an opportunity for self-enrichment through their control of the state purse. Covid-19 may seem a disaster to many of us, but to them it is time to open another case of Dom Perignon.
Some people are calling for a public inquiry. We have long experience of how effective these are. Remenber the Chilcot inquiry and the Iraq war, with Blair left richer than ever. Remember the Grenfell Tower fire massacre inquiry, ongoing after three years and with many suvivors still homeless.
This time we need effective pest control and with the rats sent to prison.
Just some of the comments made about this article ...
They have the backing of 70% of the media.
I have never felt so angry towards any government in my life as I do this bunch of buffoons, my god when will it all end, they have no shame at all and they just keep getting away with everything.
Making money from a pandemic is worse than the virus.
There seems to be nothing you or I can do to rid ourselves of these contemptuous frauds.
What is to become of us all with this corrupt Tory government ruling the roost?
Corbyn was our only chance, he was a trustworthy honest man who we could put our faith in.
A load of thieving uncaring and contemptuous B…..ds. They call themselves a government.
This is what corruption looks like.......
Tory. Bloody evil.
I felt sick to my stomach reading this. The most corrupt Tory trash party ever. We must rise up and march together to get this amoral, appalling excuse for humans out of government for Gods sake.
With Cummings involved in the electoral vote counting company we can never trust a result with a Tory win!