Today was the first day of our High Court legal challenge over Government’s award of PPE contracts. Here are three of the most shocking revelations from Court.
1) Government prioritised companies because of who they knew and not what they could deliver. Take Pestfix and Multibrands. Both suppliers emailed the senior official in charge of NHS procurement explaining their ability to supply PPE. Multibrands did so on 20th March 2020, a week before Pestfix. Multibrands received no response.
By contrast, Pestfix’s email resulted in their allocation to the “VIP lane”, where companies were fast-tracked to lucrative contracts. Why? An ex-director of PestFix was an “old school friend” of the official’s father-in-law.
2) Ministers did not want their political contacts to have to wait in line with everyone else. Evidence read out in Court revealed “...ministers and senior officials sometimes introduce offers of PPE and want them personally handled rather than going through surveys and bulk routes. Some of these contacts simply flatly refuse to proceed via a webform....."
3) The banks were so concerned about Government’s lack of due diligence on companies who had been handed huge contracts that they halted payments. An email from a civil servant stated “It is... imperative that we rectify the with supplier due diligence to ensure we do not leave ourselves at unacceptable risk of fraud/loss”