Banana Republic Corruption 204


The Ayanda Capital contract to supply £250 million of PPE to the NHS has not caused anything like the stir it should, because UK citizens appear to have come to accept that we live in a country with a Banana Republic system of capitalism. I suppose when you have a Prime Minister who handed out £60 million of public money for a Garden Bridge that there was no chance would ever be built, and who had no qualms about directing public funds to one of his many mistresses, the norm has changed.

But the Ayanda Capital PPE deal represents all that is wrong with UK capitalism.

Ayanda Capital self-describes as a “family office”. It essentially carries out investment and financial engineering, including tax avoidance, for the private wealth of the Horlick family. “Family office” has a very specific meaning in the City of London. The best simple definition I could find is here:

Family offices are private wealth management advisory firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) investors. They are different from traditional wealth management shops in that they offer a total outsourced solution to managing the financial and investment side of an affluent individual or family.

Sometimes family offices invest the wealth of more than one “very high net worth” individual or family, but they do not invest or raise funds from the wider public or from institutions.

The only named “person with significant control” of Ayanda Capital is Timothy Piers Horlick, but he owns it through a Mauritius company. Mauritius is now a notorious tax haven; it offers zero tax and keeps company officers and owners secret.

There is no reason to suppose that the activities of Ayanda Capital in private wealth management were illegal, or any more than part of the execrable trend of late stage capitalism towards super concentration of capital assets into private hands and away from the traditional more distributed forms of institutional and shareholder ownership. What Ayanda does is plain enough from its website:

As you would expect from that profile, Ayanda Capital itself, rather than the wealth it invests, is little more than a shell company. It has two directors, Nathan Philip Engelbrecht and Timothy Piers Horlick. In fact, in December 2019, Ayanda Capital’s balance sheet shows that it was only kept from bankruptcy by “intangible assets” worth £2,890,000. That was an increase of almost exactly £2,000,000 in the value of those “intangible assets” in twelve months, allegedly due to “development” spending of that amount. What was being developed is entirely unclear. It is difficult to see how a private wealth investment company develops some form of intangible asset with a value of nearly £3 million. I find it hard to see all that as more than an accounting wheeze – and a rather hoary one at that.

So far, so unremarkable. So the question is this. Why would the NHS turn to this ethically sordid but zeitgeist banal private wealth management office to provide a quarter of a billion pounds worth of PPE to the NHS? Wealth Manager magazine, who have done excellent journalism on this story, have the contract as supplying only face masks. They have confirmed the astonishing fact that there was no published tender for the quarter billion pound contract. Normal tendering processes were suspended in March through secondary legislation at Westminster for the Covid-19 Crisis.

This is all simply astonishing.

The normal public procurement tendering process has pre-qualification criteria which companies have to meet. These will normally include so many years of experience in the specific sector, employment of suitably qualified staff, possession of the required physical infrastructure and a measure of financial stability. This is perhaps obvious – otherwise you or I could simply stick in a bid to build the HS2 railway that is £10 billion cheaper than anybody else, win the contract then go and look for a builder.

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. We have of course seen this before from these crooked Tories with their “emergency procurement”, with the “ferry company” with no ferries. But this – a quarter of a billion pounds – is on a whole different level.

I understand that normal procurement chains were struggling, but I would still trust any of the UK’s numerous long established and globally successful medical supply companies to go out and get the right kind of medical supplies, of the right quality, and arrange their supply and delivery, rather than throw an incredible sum of taxpayers’ cash at the first couple of City wide boys who said they can do it. From a company with a very dodgy balance sheet.

What are Ayanda Capital in this transaction other than the classic Banana Republic “Mr 10%”? Precisely what kind of country has the UK become? No wonder it is falling apart.

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204 thoughts on “Banana Republic Corruption

1 2
  • Aidworker1

    Craig,
    Another amazing post – you’re a National Treasure – good luck with the court.

    • Los

      But then a mere £250 million is just peanuts and is itself dwarfed by the £25,000 million announced on Wednesday just for funding PPE and Test & Trace.

      Given the Government’s record on Ferry Contracts and now PPE, there definitely needs to be some independent public scrutiny of how they intend to piss away £25 billion.

      There needs to be a full public accounting and audit of all such spending and contracts.

      See:

      Coronavirus: Public spending on crisis soars to £190bn
      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-53342271

      ===>

      ‘Skated over’

      The extra public spending figure includes £15bn to buy personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks.

      It also includes £10bn for the testing and tracing of infected persons…

      “There is a huge public services additional spending that we didn’t really know about that was announced (on Wednesday). It was kind of skated over, but £15bn for PPE for frontline workers is an enormous sum,” Paul Johnson, director of the IFS, told the BBC.

    • Rhys Jaggar

      The £250m will of course have to be used to procure face masks, which will be listed under ‘current liabilities’ and ‘creditors’ (if the contract is one of several years duration).

      If one assumes, cynically, a 20% profit margin, then this is basically a £50m bung.

      I always thought bungs were paid TO governments, not BY governments.

      I guess in the descent to barbarism, bungs are paid by anyone.

  • John Goss

    You explain this legalised corruption so well. Probably because it has never entered my life do I have the knowledge to give detailed criticism. Am I missing something on the balance sheet? The two columns are not Assets against Liabilities because they are under and over rather than side by side. Presumably the second column is the previous year yet they both say 2019.

    As to:

    “The normal public procurement tendering process has pre-qualification criteria which companies have to meet. These will normally include so many years of experience in the specific sector, employment of suitably qualified staff, possession of the required physical infrastructure and a measure of financial stability. This is perhaps obvious – otherwise you or I could simply stick in a bid to build the HS2 railway that is £10 billion cheaper than anybody else, win the contract then go and look for a builder.”

    That is exactly what happened when the Soviet Union became the Russian Federation. People like Berezovsky, Abramovich, Glushkov and others bought everything up for a song and got rid of any would-be competitors – literally. Paul Klebnikov, who they also got rid of literally, covers this well in “Godfather of the Kremlin – Boris Berezovsky and the looting of Russia.” Looks like we have stooped so low.

    • craig Post author

      It’s this accounting period against the last, but as they changed their accounting period during the year both dates are 2019.

    • Ruth

      I believe many of the oligarchs are frontmen for the British state with Russian assets transferred to various tax havens with the help of MI6

      • Shatnersrug

        Don’t be misdirected by nationality. The super rich do not have any respect for nationality they simply move to where the can accumulate the most. The Johnson and the Russians business is irrelevant, it could as easily be – and probably is – Johnson and the Americans, and Johnson and the Israelis, and Johnson and the…. well you get my point.

        The capitalist class exist to exploit and they are our enemy. Not Russians or Chinese. This idea that Dark foreigners hate twined our politics is an infantile fairytale

        • Antonym

          Exactly: I translate ultra-high-net-worth globalists in ultra-egoistic-high-greed-junkies . They use a national Passport as a sanitary tissue: use and throw. They bribe suspectable national politicians / bureaucrats in the same manner to get what they want. The ultimate test: where do they pay income tax (if any).
          As such some “US” globalists have much more in common with some “Chinese” globalists as they are thriving on their common stock price heights.
          China is special as some of them can be prime members of the CCP – the world’s most powerful self lobby club. Just see the emblem of the Chinese Mi5/6, MSS: not the country’s one but the party’s symbol. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_State_Security_(China).

        • Tatyana

          Johnson and the Friends of Israel, I’m sure. The scheme is exact pattern of what we’ve seen during ‘privatisation’.

  • Billio

    The following article gives an overview for this story and includes a list of contracts awarded by the UK government.
    https://yorkshirebylines.co.uk/ppe-procurement-the-government-responds-to-legal-action/
    Research the details for ‘Medicine Box Ltd’. According to a list of EU public contract awards it has been awarded a contract for £40m without competitive tender.
    A member of the general public would find it hard to understand how a company of this size could be awarded a £40m contract.

    What I don’t understand is why the newspapers are not investigating these stories. Keith Starmer and Labour what are you doing ?

  • Ian Brown

    ” Mauritius is now a notorious tax haven; it offers zero tax and keeps company officers and owners secret.”

    This is the country that’s asking for the Chagos Islands back?

    • craig Post author

      It is indeed. However given the choice between a tax haven and an Imperial nuclear and torture base, I guess I’ll go with the former.

      • Courtenay Barnett

        Craig,

        Let us get back to UN Resolution 1514.

        Instead of dong what was mandated – her Majesty’s Government, truth be told has consistently used the vehicle of ‘tax havens’ – significantly in the Caribbean to subsidise the cost of what otherwise would befall the British Treasury.

        Take a look at the West Indies Act 1962 and more particularly sections 8 & 9 and say why I am wrong.

        All the best in your upcoming case.

        Courtenay

  • Loony

    You wont be able to discern anything informative from accounts published by a family office.

    However you do know that since the great Coronavirus pandemic got into full swing the aggregate wealth of billionaires has increased by around $500 billion or half a trillion – a sum that is considerably higher than the $250 million referenced – which incidentally is a gross number not a net number.

    You also know that the NHS has long been a favored vehicle for transferring public money into private hands. In 2009/10 the UK government, via the NHS, purchased 120 million doses of swine flu vaccines. When swine flu failed to develop as hoped some of these vaccines were cancelled. In simple terms Glaxo and Baxter were paid for not delivering swine flu vaccines. Some of the doses of this vaccine were diverted to Africa as part of UK aid programs. Africa, like everywhere else, did not experience much by way of swine flu so what they did with these vaccines is anyone’s guess. Finally the NHS took delivery of 34 million doses of swine flu vaccine which they subsequently destroyed.

    Amazingly the UK population has been persuaded to take to the streets to applaud an organization that is dedicated to transferring wealth from the poor to the rich. Why complain? If you support the NHS then you support corruption of the type referenced. The only possible way to stop this kind of corruption is to pro-actively destroy the NHS – but as no-one is willing to do that then there is no other choice than to. watch the entire edifice be eaten away by corruption.

    • Ian

      Haha, you are ridiculous. Let’s destroy the NHS. Great idea, Einstein. You do love lecturing other countries’ populations about your Ayn Rand style Trumpism.

      • Loony

        I am not lecturing anyone, merely pointing out what the NHS is, and what it is is not what most people believe it to be.

        You don’t like the argument – not my problem. You presumably like being fleeced on an industrial scale in which case the NHS is just the organization for you. Your real problem is that when the NHS has completed its task of separating you from your wealth then the NHS will disappear, and so presumably you are confident that you will not require medical treatment. It also follows logically that you just don’t care whether or not your fellow citizens may ever require medical treatment.

        • Kempe

          The NHS lacks the facilities to manufacture vaccines so it has to buy them in from private companies. In fact it buys all of its drugs and equipment from private companies, so what? So does every other healthcare system in the world. To claim it only exists as a vehicle to transfer public funds to private hands is nothing short of laughable. Every industry that’s ever been nationalised has or does the same thing to some degree or the other.

          The 2009/10 Swine flu epidemic didn’t turn out to be as bad as was predicted and a lot of nations found themselves with surplus vaccines. Was money wasted? Well things would’ve been much worse if there had been a full blown pandemic and governments hadn’t stockpiled on vaccines, as it turned out it was unnecessary but to paint it as some kind of organised scam is ridiculous.

          http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/8438663.stm

          • Loony

            The point I made is that the NHS paid companies NOT to supply vaccines.

            You want another example?

            This is the website for Kohlberg Kravis Roberts – a US based private equity firm.

            https://www.kkr.com/kkr-today

            Do some research and find out whether the NHS has ever been used as a vehicle for enriching these people. If it has., ask why

        • Johny Conspiranoid

          Loony
          Or, you could create an NHS that is not a vehicle for giving money to rich people. Same with the other public servoces. Its been done before.

        • Stonky

          You are quite right Loony. The NHS is a joke.

          I worked as a management consultant for many years, and learned a few things:
          1. Human beings are not ants or bees, so when human beings create organisations they are inherently inefficient.
          2. As human organisations expand so does the inefficiency. But this growth is exponential, not linear.
          3. Because of this, there is a point beyond which human organisations become unmanageable.

          The NHS is a behemoth. It crossed that threshold a long time ago. It was finally ruined when Blair stuffed it full of thousands and thousands of managerialists – empire builders, jobsworths, “strategists”, “communicators” and hordes of other careerists, carpetbaggers, and pd tokens.

          How else do you explain an “Assistant Director of Diversity and Equality” trousering a six-figure package, surrounded by a team of space-fillers costing twice as much as a nurse and contributing the square root of zip, while a few corridors away and a few floors down from the executive suites, old people are being allowed to foul themselves in their beds, and then being left to lie in their mess until they contract a filth-borne disease and die?

          • Xavi

            We could include the multi millions burned on the management consultants who advised all those “reforms.” But even the existence of these parasites within the NHS does not enoble the bankrupting healthcare model beloved of Trump and his acolytes.

          • Kempe

            Yes too many managers but that alone doesn’t make the NHS a ‘joke’. Probably brings it into line with a lot of other big companies.

            CEO of private healthcare provider Spire was paid £1 million in 2019 and the average CEO package for a healthcare company in the US is $18 million whilst millions struggle to afford the insurance premiums.

          • Stonky

            “But even the existence of these parasites within the NHS does not enoble the bankrupting healthcare model beloved of Trump and his acolytes…”

            One of the great benefits of quitting The Guardian was that I was no longer confronted with the bovine belief that there are only two health systems in the world – the NHS and the US model (which is now apparently all the fault of Trump) – and the bone-headed insistence that anybody who can see how dreadful the NHS is must be a fan of the US (sorry the Trump) model.

            Thanks a bunch for tracking me down.

          • Stonky

            “Yes too many managers but that alone doesn’t make the NHS a ‘joke’…”

            Agreed. What makes it a joke is the execrable service it delivers. The most recent numbers I can find (2017) indicate that France spends 11.3% of its GDP on healthcare and the UK spends 9.6%. So France spends about 18% more than the UK.

            I would say the French system is somewhere between two times and ten times better than the NHS. One of the reasons is that almost all of the French healthcare budget is spent on healthcare. They don’t have a behemoth stuffed with Corporate Strategists, Communications Czars, and Assistant Directors of Equality and Diversity on six-figure packages.

          • np

            Kempe July 9, 2020 at 11:11

            “CEO of private healthcare provider Spire was paid £1 million in 2019”

            Spire reported £980 million in revenue last year (30% from the NHS, 50% from private insurance companies). It paid £1.1 million in income tax.

          • SA

            Stonky
            “What makes it a joke is the execrable service it delivers. The most recent numbers I can find (2017) indicate that France spends 11.3% of its GDP on healthcare and the UK spends 9.6%. So France spends about 18% more than the UK.”
            Yeah so? Does spending more mean it is better? Have you any comparison of performance indicators.
            I agree with you that Blair has ruined the NHS by increasing the number of administrators and by inventing more and more administartive jobs. The payment by results scheme of Blair’s years was an attempt at accounting for each ball of cotton wool in order to have a charging model in the mold of private healthcare based on the states. Again the atlanticisation of the NHS as also of GB PLC.

          • Laguerre

            SA
            The French system has a better record on treating cancers. Like anything in France you have to choose your doctor, to get good treatment. It’s not like in Britain, where you simply go where your GP writes the letter.

          • SA

            Laguerre
            I have knowledge of the French and Austrian systems. Administratively they look good but it could be a lottery as how you are treated. My experience from friends and relatives is that the system is uneven and can be rather paternalistic and condescending. Things are tolerated which would not be here. They may have better coordination of trials and maybe cancer treatment but run of the mill medicine can leave a lot to be desired.

        • SA

          Vintage Loony
          Because the Tories decided to partially privatise part of the NHS for private profit, let us get rid of the nationalised part of the NHS to increase profits for the rich and create a totally privatised larcenous system such as is the case across the pond. Brilliant.

          • Stonky

            “…let us get rid of the nationalised part of the NHS to increase profits for the rich and create a totally privatised larcenous system such as is the case across the pond.”

            People like you bewilder me. Are you deliberately trying as hard as you can to appear stupid, or do you genuinely believe that there are on ly two possible healthcare systems in the world – the NHS and the US model?

          • SA

            People like you should think more before claiming the intellectual high ground. In the context of Our NHS these are the choices and the trajectory not only of the NHS but if GB PLC.
            It may have escaped your notice that ultimately Brexit is an Atlanticist project that had its roots at the time of Thatcher if not before.

      • Mary

        Loony sounds like that young American woman from the Institute of Economic Affairs who promotes the same – abolish the NHS and set up a privatised version. She is always being given airtime on the BBC.

        Such zeal for their project.
        https://youtu.be/FZXB14-soSg

        • Xavi

          It was the “Clap for the NHS!” BBC who twisted the revelation of government talks with US predators into a “Corbyn is Putin’s puppet” story. That is the “Clap for the NHS!” BBC when it really counts..

  • Goose

    Ultimately it’s the press’s responsibility to bring this and many other questionable contracts to public attention and unfortunately there’s this horrible connivance.

    Remember when Cameron launched the Leveson inquiry, much to Murdoch’s reported anger. One of his newspapers then exposed the £250,000 ‘kitchen suppers’ scandal. Donors paying to have a cosy chat with Cam & Sam above No.10; before dropping a policy they’d like to see changed in the No.10 in-tray on the way out.

    In Italy that kind of thing created the huge scandal called Tangentopoli (Bribesville).

  • Alf Baird

    I have carried out a number of research studies into offshore private equity activity in the maritime sector, ports and ferries mainly. Scotland’s major ports on the Clyde, Forth and Tay, sold by Malcolm Rifkind when Transport Minister in 1991/2, are now owned by offshore private equity groups. As are Scotland’s major airports. One of the downsides of this ‘model’ is the PE owners tend not to make much if any investment in new infrastructure, which means the assets become relatively obsolete. So we still have Victorian ports to a large degree, not much use nowadays. And still a lot of waterfront dereliction in an urban context. That and high user prices, thanks to regional monopolies, makes the Scottish economy less competitive than it should be. More here for anyone interested: reidfoundation.org/2016/01/sort-out-our-ports/

    I also notice that the Scottish Government’s public ferry agency CMAL, currently the subject of a Holyrood enquiry over extremely high cost overruns on what I regard as very poorly designed ferries ordered at Fergusons Port Glasgow, has in recent years acquired several second-hand ferries for Northern Isles without any public tender. Very unusual that, for assets worth perhaps well over £50m, and I would say high risk in several respects.
    https://www.cmassets.co.uk/freight-ferries-purchased-for-cmal-fleet/
    https://www.cmassets.co.uk/deal-to-buy-vessels-as-northern-isles-contract-is-extended/

    • J Galt

      I was about to point to the Ferguson/Calmac newbuildings scandal as an example that we are not immune in Scotland to “waste and imcompetence” simply being a cover for graft.

      Another even more glaring example – the Edinburgh Tram scheme – the entirely laudable object of providing our capital with a public transport system that would at least approach those that are taken for granted in any medium sized German city for instance, turned into a boondoggle – even the farcical Public Inquiry into the project’s failings has turned into boondoggle!

      And this is not political – the management of the SNP are now firmly part of the Scottish Establishment – as corrupt as the rest were before them.

      • Alf Baird

        Yes, sums of money spent on even small ferry piers in Scotland are way in excess of what needs to be spent, in my view, having researched port investments globally over many years. The 2 current Ferguson’s ferries were initially supposed to cost £49m each, but they are now costing some £150m each. Add the costs for each pair of port modifications at around £30m per port, this means one single route, i.e. ferry and 2 ports, costing over £200m – just to serve a modest island route. Compare with the new private sector ferry ‘Alfred’ running in Orkney for Pentland Ferries, also able to carry 100 cars, the latter cost just £15m, with rapid delivery based on proven design, and with minimal pier changes/cost. One does get the impression ‘something stinks’. It often seems such waste is endemic across the public sector – schools, hospitals, transport etc. I was appointed by a previous transport minister to advise in a Expert Ferry Group, however all of my suggestions, all based on global research work, were total ignored by civil servants and quango officials. They did not seem remotely interested in doing things better and simply went along making the same mistakes over and over again.

        • J Galt

          And to save face they are absolutely determined these shoddy hulks at Port Glasgow are going to be completed regardless of cost, even though I suspect the actual ferry operators (Calmac as opposed to CMAL) don’t want them.

          I have it on good authority that the regular masters on the Arran run were consulted on what was the maximum safe length of vessel for the terminal at Ardrossan and they said an absolute maximum of 100m – so CMAL goes right ahead and approves 102.4m! That says it all.

  • 6033624

    This has some crossover with my own area of expertise (dealing with delinquent limited companies) I should point out that it is not uncommon these days (past 30/40yrs) for limited companies to trade whilst technically insolvent. Many going concerns that you would know are in that situation. Gone are the days where companies had cash reserves, now they have debt, for example – NCR was a successful company with large cash reserves before being bought over, restructured, put into massive amounts of debt and then put down ie ceased trading no assets. NB as a sidenote I see that Horlick does ‘Invoice Lending’ something that has really taken off now that companies have little in the way of cash these days, a real symptom of an overindebted society. The Family Office type investment isn’t uncommon either for example there is a charity which specialises in ensuring that ‘fake news’ is removed from the internet, the director of the charity (and others) was a city boy who then founded his own company for the independently wealthy before changing the purpose of the company to be a vehicle for his OWN family wealth. Where there’s muck there’s brass – and there’s definitely plenty of muck (hence no names)

    I must however be slightly forgiving of how these contracts were put together. Our normal procurement was unable to oblige because the Americans, in particular, were paying VAST sums for PPE to be taken off transport bound for elsewhere and put on THEIR transport. They had deep pockets and no conscience. In THIS situation you really DO need a ‘fixer’ you need someone who will get their ‘hands dirty’ and you need to do it at ‘arms length’ Flatly put, bribes were paid because it’s the only way we’d have gotten any PPE. I’m sure that’s not news to you but I do think that we had little choice, like having a gun to your head it was, literally, a matter of life and death.

    Still, a LOT of this could have been avoided. The PPE scandal will probably get lost in the midst of other scandals and the overall tragedy. Written off as unavoidable due to unforeseeable demand, except it WASN’T. Not only was it foreseeable it was PLANNED FOR. Those who do such things had made a plan for the government some years back and laid out the demands that would be placed on them for PPE, the preparedness plan stated the exact amount of gowns, masks etc that would be needed and should be stockpiled. The report was duly implemented, sort of. All parts of the report were implemented except for PPE, despite deciding to implement in it’s entirety somehow they didn’t manage to buy all of the gowns and the masks that they bought? There was a ‘black hole’ in the stockpile of over a million. They bought them, they stored them, they periodically checked them and when they went to get them they were ONE MILLION short. This is how things go WITH a plan. Now add to that the fact that Boris has ignored good advice to reopen England before it was safe to do so and you can see why, when NI, Scotland & Wales infection rate has slowed almost to a standstill that the rate in England is TWENTY TIMES HIGHER than it should be. The rate per hundred thousand jumped by one hundred within 24 hours in England whilst elsewhere in the UK it is almost at a standstill, rising by single digits or less (per hundred thousand)

    • alexey

      Very interesting, and actually, I hadn’t thought of that. Will we expect the Bribery Act to be amended or abolished?

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      6033624
      How do you get ‘fake news’ removed from the internet?
      Where did all the borrowed money go?

    • Johny Conspiranoid

      6033624
      If all these companies are deep in debt wouldn’t it be more accurate to say that late capitalism is driven by compound interest rather than greed? That would be a more concrete theory.

    • Willie

      Alf Baird makes very important points when he refers to Scotland’s privatised ports.

      Since privatisation the owners of these ports have failed to invest in new and increased port capacity preferring instead to make money out of property development. Scotland now suffers from under capacity and that is a huge restriction to economic development.

      But it is not just the ports that have been sold off. Airports, power generation and transmission, gas transmission, land, all gone to be held in some offshore jurisdiction, whilst the punters pay plenty to these offshore owners.

      But maybe, just maybe, serfdom is a natural Scottish trait. A birthright of relative poverty and inequality one does wonder if folks really care. Travel abroad to other countries and especially the Middle Eastern countries like Qatar, or UAE, or in Northern Europe Norway, or in the east Singapore and you’ll see countries who have used their resources to build infrastructure, to build business.

      Sadly, for too many pig proud Scots their recent highlight was the reopening of McDonalds and the beer gardens in which they could enjoy a bevy.

      But what does economic development matter. Why would you want First world infrastructure. Better to let some wealth fund own it – and that is the hard issue that many of us who do want to change things face. No vision, no drive, just a vainglorious belief that once we were great – who’s like us.

      Ah well, hard times are coming. Brutally hard times. But maybe, just maybe, the descent into economic poverty and the stewardship of Boris Johnson may inspire us all to change course, including may I add many in the current Scottish Government.

      • Alf Baird

        Yes Willie, I met with Scotland’s ‘trade minister’ to inform him that trade cannot grow without access to advanced competitive seaports and shipping connections. I see no action still, even despite Brexit and the opportunity for the state to co-fund a direct ferry link to the continent. Scotland has enormous trading opportunities well in excess of what is currently done and reliance on Victorian port infras is nationally negligent. The civil servants mind you still have a UK mindset and are mindful that Whitehall policy has aye been to focus on strategic infrastructure in the UK south east, and latterly a bit in the ‘north’ – Liverpool! Scotland is more like a less developed nation, or an undeveloped colony.

  • Giyane

    Companies that were able to supply PPE , but without Tory connections were all refused even though they begged to be considered and had the necessary expertise.

    There’s nothing shocking about Tory sleaze . I am extremely shocked about Priti Patel being put in charge of law and order after her criminal attempts to divert charity to Al Qaida for Israel. Money us just an addiction, and the casino owners voted themselves in by rigging g the election. True corruption imho is when the greed affects the delivery of the PPE to the care homes and NHS, and the man in charge accuses the self-sacrificing staff of negligence.

    Boris Johnson is so blatantly corrupt and arrogant I don’t suppose his relationship with his current girlfriend will last long. The one who said he was spoilt for spilling wine on the sofa. But we need to chuck Boris more than she needs to chuck him and that will be hard for many who have been taken in by his callous lies.

    What kind of man wakes up in the morning and thinks’ Hmmm, today I have to do something about shifting the blame for the 70,000 covid deaths from myself onto the carers. And then puts it into action?
    Psychosis in Tory minds is the ability to admit you were wrong. It worries them a lot that some of their stalwart MPs are staring to weaken after Boris’s shameless inability to ever admit to ever having done anything wrong.

    • Giyane

      Andrew Ingram

      Who cares about snouts in the trough when Hunt destroyed the PPE and Boris blames the care workers?
      It’s as if the suppurating boil of guilt at his own incompetence is too much for the Prime minister, and his instinct is to start shovelling the blame on to the care workers.

      Does this man really believe the fake Tory algorithms that put him in power? Does he really believe that careworkers had masks available to put on but neglected to do so.
      This scoundrel is not going to survive his outrageous comments this week about careworkers.

      Was he clapping because he was happy so many had died or was he clapping because of his cut from
      Ayanda Capital? Such a cynical shallow man, even if so far he is not a war criminal like David Cameron.

      • Mishko

        A lot of PPE got spaffed on walls. Boris keeps spaffing while the spaffing
        is good. A bit like using drywall on windows.
        There has been a remarkable change in Boris J.’s demeanour.
        Was it the Croona? Must have been. Poor Boris, just like Tom Hanks
        and his wife that does not much care for his last name.
        There will probably not be a Croona20, just like there was no Croona18.
        But there is a Croona19. US army medical branch allegedly has
        stated that people who have received the flu shot are more susceptible
        to the Croona19. Quies custodiet ipsos custodes?

  • np

    If Craig’s report is correct, this is almost unbelievable. And so blatant, as if they just don’t care if people find out. Isn’t there someone out there who can do something about it?

    I agree with John Goss that this smells exactly like the kind of deal which happened during the Yeltsin years in Russia, as reported by Paul Klebnikov in his 2000 book Godfather of the Kremlin. (Klebnikov, an American writer, was shot dead in Moscow 4 years later. Nobody has yet been charged with the crime).

    Given the British government’s catastrophic handling of the covid-19 crisis from the very start, I’m amazed that no one has yet launched legal proceedings against them (and the May government) for criminal negligence and/or manslaughter.

    (French prosecutors have begun an investigation into their government’s handling of the crisis, in response to multiple public complaints).

  • Ian

    I don’t know if your source for this information was the Good Law Project, but they have been digging into this for the last few weeks, and have found a pigeon netting firm, a ‘chocolatier’ as well as Ayanda. None of whom have any relevant track record in the field of PPE, Genuine PPE suppliers were not informed of that the contract was available, and these three turned out to be the only bidders. It appears they all have links to the Tory party, Ayanda in the form of Andrew Mills, adviser to Liz Truss (also banned from Twitter for hate speech, apparently).
    More details here:
    https://twitter.com/JolyonMaugham/status/1279311067785633793?s=20
    Good Law are very active in taking legal action to uncover these kind of cases, and might be worthy of your support.
    https://goodlawproject.org/news/

    • craig Post author

      The sources are all linked. The Wealth Management report mentioned that the Goodlaw Project is hoping to take legal action, but I haven’t seen any specific reporting by them on Ayanda in this kind of detail.

      • Ian

        It’s in the thread I linked to. They have taken legal action on the first two that came to light, and are trying to insist that the government honour its own code of placing the contracts in the public domain no later than 20 days after completion. They are also trying to establish what these firms have done to fulfill the contracts.
        As far as Ayanda goes, Jame Hurley of The Times has been following it up, receiving an opaque answer from them:
        https://twitter.com/jameshurley/status/1280201320536969216?s=20
        The FT and others have also been writing about this brewing scandal, of which Ayanda are only one example. Allyson Pollock and Independent Sage, as well as Jon Ashworth, have been asking questions about the wider picture of why these companies, as well as Serco etc, have been awarded huge amounts of money, with no accountability or transparency. It gets worse, the government are actually shutting down any information on them, refusing to publish figures etc.
        All governments are tainted with some level of sleaze, but this lot, only 7 months in, are surpassing all previous records, and are shameless about it, refusing to release information about use of public money, and stonewalling any requests. A huge scandal in the making.

      • Alf Baird

        Craig, you may be interested in my paper entitled ‘Private equity investment in the European ferry industry’. The public ferry sector in Scotland is perhaps still a ‘target’ for similar treatment. I did much of the research whilst advising the Isle of Man parliament, Tynwald, whose members were keen to find out why their ferry company (Isle of Man Steam Packet) seemed to be continually being sold on between bankers, and at vastly inflated prices which greatly exceeded the asset value of the business.

        https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/41174781.pdf

  • Twostime

    Capital, Capital, so many mentions. Love Craig but perhaps he has uncovered an issue with Capital?… Maybe we should look to alternative governance and control?… (a regular SO-dinaring)

    • Mary

      The RT Hon Jeremy Richard Streynsham Hunt, latterly Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has similar antecedents to Horlick. His daddy Sir Nicholas was a Vice Admiral too and was even the chair of a local NHS Authority 1990-95. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know.

      See Later Life – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Hunt

  • Ross

    Corruption is one thing, but when it is this blatant, and on such a scale, I begin to wonder why. It’s as if they know the whole game is up, the global economy is doomed, and it a case of looting the stationary cupboard whilst they can.

    Why isn’t ‘forensic scrutiny’ Starmer on this? Given that there is no explanation for this other than complete corruption, this should not only bring the government down, a good number of its luminaries should end up in prison.

  • Stonky

    I keep saying this but I keep saying it becasue every day it gets a little more true. We’re not far from the point where they’re not going to bother pretending any more. They’re just going to shove their fat greedy purple florid faces in ours and say “Look at this. We can do all this. And there isn’t a SINGLE F*CKING THING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!”

    • Giyane

      Stonky

      Tories voted for Victorian privilege and Empire2.
      This idea is already closing the possibility of saving the economy by getting a cure for covid from China and the fat faces are going to get more purple and the eyes more bulgy as they lose this fatuous war of words with China.

      The US is saying China wants to be the only superpower, which is pure goldfish bowl projection of USUKIS hegemony onto China which is only asking for a place at the table and to be treated as an equal.

      The Tories and the Republicans see no difference between the enemy within which they call sedition, and the enemy without, which they call dictatorship.

      Surely the right wing populist dog whistles against covid restrictions have caused the spikes in deaths and infections here and in the US? Surely the confrontation with China will prolong the economic pain?

      We are approaching a let them eat cake moment in the anglophone world, a moment when not only the emperor has no clothes , but no head either.

  • Johny Conspiranoid

    Obviously the money is for something else entirely.
    Youread it here first.
    You probably won’t read it anywhere else.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Excellent post. Scratch a little deeper and there’s bound to be a personal connection between Horlick and Johnson, Cummings or Sunak (the rising new power).

  • Tommy Paine

    ‘Normal tendering processes were suspended in March through secondary legislation at Westminster for the Covid-19 Crisis’.
    Personally, I dont expect normal tendering processes to resume anytime. I think its now full steam ahead for a (global) banking political system known as ‘fascism & greed’, one that citizens understand to be democracy. As resistance becomes increasingly more futile, perhaps the time has come to throw the towel in and swear subservience/allegiance to those we are not allowed to question or criticise.
    Praise to Covid-1984, the great enabler.

    • Giyane

      Tommy Paine

      The Tories and Republicans could never allow their crimes to be exposed by allowing outsiders to their corruption into power. This garbage elite is now showing signs of psychological stress like animals caged in zoos or mad emperors in later years of the Roman Empire.

      China is not champing at the bit as the West decomposes in its own body bag. But it would have been infinitely better to have had the rightful winner of last UK election Corbyn to reach out to China in these times of deep uncertainty.

      Why would anyone give their allegiance to a capitalist system that already bankrupted the world in 2007 through its own greed when we have many alternatives to the virus of Thatcherite money-laundering ponzi schemes?

  • Geoffrey

    I suspect that this contract will be one of the least expensive of the governments splurges, I doubt it is corrupt just incompetent. If I were looking for corruption I would look at the £50,000 “business” loans that have been sprayed around most of which will never be paid back, very few of them will benefit working people.

    • Stonky

      How can you “incompetently” hand a no-tender £25 million PPE contract to a company that has no staff, no premises, and zero track record in healthcare, PPE, trading, manufacturing, procurement, or any other relevant field, or indeed anything at all other than tax-avoidance?

        • Stonky

          Thanks Ian I guess I have my answer… They only meant to give a £25 million PPE contract to a company that has no staff, no premises, and zero track record in healthcare, PPE, trading, manufacturing, procurement, or any other relevant field, or indeed anything at all other than tax-avoidance, but somebody incompetently stuck an extra 0 on the end and nobody noticed.

  • Stuart McLeay

    Thanks for your analysis, as ever. There is an issue to consider, as the 2019 balance sheet that you include seems to have comparative figures that, although usually the preceding year, are also headed 2019 in this case. They show that the net balance on intangibles increased to 2,890,474 from 1,735,663. Do you need to revisit this? It is not a (net) increase of almost £2m, so you may want to edit or clarify. To understand better, we need to know what is said in Note 4.

    • Stuart McLeay

      NB I would guess that the final balance sheet was at 31 December 2019, as you indicate, and that the previous period perhaps ended on 31 May. That is, the increase to 2,890,474 from 1,735,663 (+ 1,154,811) over seven months would be equivalent to an increase of £2m over twelve months. What does it say in Note 4?

      • np

        The latest figures are for six months only (July 1 – December 31, 2019) while the comparative figures are for the previous six months (January 1 – June 30, 2019).

        The only other published figures available are for the period October 16, 2017 – December 31, 2018. The company was incorporated in October 2017.

        In his comments, Craig is correctly comparing end-2019 figures with end-2018 figures.

        https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/11014884/filing-history

    • craig Post author

      Stuart. It is because they changed their reporting period within 2019. The Balance sheet for December 2018 is one of the links in the article. If you click on the highlighted “in twelve months” you see it, That shows the £2 million increase Dec 2018 to Dec 2019.

      The link highlighted “Ayanda Capital’s Balance Sheet” gives you the balance sheet from which the extract is published and you can read Note 4 for yourself.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Reminiscent of the nearly £1m paid out in management fees to the nameless consultants (read spivs) that handed a £14m ferry contract to Seaborne Freight (the company with no ships). These indispensable consultants failed to notice that Seaborne’s Terms & Conditions were a cut and paste from a pizza delivery company.
    Wonder where Horlick went to school. Wasn’t Sunak headboy at Westminster?

    • Giyane

      Vivian o Blivian

      Drive past East Midlands Airport on the M1 and you can see the scale of green belt development opened up by the smart motorway scheme down the road from JCB.

      Money attracts money and all commodities are the same to money people. The scandal is not in the money laundering, but in the fact that Boris Johnson really believes that handing over dollops of cash to money people actually sorts out the problem of no PPE.

      He clearly believes he has arranged the PPE to be available and that careworkers refused to wear it.
      Steve Bell’s caricature of BojoBum’s face with no eyes just bum cheeks sums up exactly how blissfully unaware Johnson is of facts on the ground.

    • Mary

      Craig gave a link to Seaborne Ferries.
      https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/30/no-deal-brexit-ferry-company-owns-no-ships-and-has-never-run-ferry-service
      _____

      Timothy Piers Horlick is the ex husband of the so called Superwoman, Nicola Horlick, nee Gayford. .He started off as an accountant at pWc.

      He has 20 jobs listed on his Linked In entry. https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tim-horlick-85951517 Upwardly mobile indeed. There is little about him personally on the net but much on the ex wife and their six children..

      These are his current posts –

      Chairman
      Sensify US Inc
      Nov 2014 – Present 5 years 9 months
      London and Stamford, CT
      Sensify is a leading global provider of Internet of Things solutions designed to remotely track, monitor, trace, control, manage, verify and secure connected assets.
      http://www.sensifyinc.com

      Development Capital Limited
      Chief Executive
      Development Capital Limited
      Jan 2009 – Present 11 years 7 months
      London, United Kingdom
      Private equity investment business

      https://images.app.goo.gl/basegzegqEqSgUGs7

      He has also been in the Bitcoin ‘business’.

  • nevermind

    This government should be asked some serious questions over this contract.
    How was the invitation for tenders advertised? how widely and who did it.
    How can a brief for tender not stipulate a minimum of bidders, all local goverment contracts are?
    How come that this contract was accepted with one sole bidder, with no expertise to check the goods or their quality and acceptance to our public services.

    Thanks for highlighting this simmering sore at the pivotal centre of government, one wonders whether DC has had anything to do with it.

    • Mary

      Answers? There will be none nevermind.

      Sunak and Jenrick need assistance to tell all.

      Horlick went to Wellington School in Somerset, He is now 59.

      ‘Tim Horlick was born in 1961 in Weymouth where his father was serving in the Royal Navy. His childhood included spells in Singapore, Malta and various naval bases all over the UK, before the family finally settled in Bath. He went to Wellington School in Somerset, where he was in the rugby XV and the tennis team. He later played for Bath rugby club’s second team. After Exeter College, Oxford, where he read philosophy, politics and economics, he was unclear what to do next, but opted for accountancy at Price Waterhouse.’
      https://www.euromoney.com/article/b1320jvh6g30nb/tim-horlick?

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        So Horlick probably missed Johnson by a year or two at Oxford and Johnson was at Balliol.

  • OnlyHalfALooney

    I am not particularly surprised.

    As I’ve said here before, I think Boris Johnson is an English Jacob Zuma. His regime will loot the UK government’s coffers with endless and blatant corruption just like Zuma’s did in South Africa.

    In the end, Zuma did f*ck all except enrich himself, father more “unknown” children and build himself a private palace in Zululand. Zuma left actual decisions to first the Shaik brothers and later the Gupta brothers, who have been accused of attempted “state capture”. Johnson is leaving everything to Dominic Cummings it seems – a very strange charlatan with utter contempt for parliament and democratic oversight and probably very shady backers.

    Worrying that the “world’s oldest democracy” has come to this.

    • nevermind

      ‘ In thee beginning’…. put that into the duck du k search engine and the name Jacob Zuma.
      just to cheer you all up.

      This is a raid which is another indicator amongst many, showing the final desintegration of a long lost empire.

  • Monster

    If I were in the business of manufacturing face masks and I saw this blatant fraud why would I not be challenging the award.in the high court. The competitors are not feeble start ups employing 156 people, but giant multinationals with massive manufacturing and distribution facilities…and bottomless pockets. If you believe they will be the ultimate producers, it would make no sense in losing 20% profit to an offshore non entity which has no provenance regarding paying its bills. A direct contract with the government is a safer and more profitable bet even if you have to outsource it to Bangladesh or the Republic or Ruritania..

  • Wazdo

    A friend of ours who works as a gardener told us this tale yesterday. One of his clients is a businessman who owns an small company employing perhaps five or six people, all of whom are getting furlough money from HMG.

    He applied to the local council for a grant to help him through the current situation and they gave him £50k.

    He spent it all on a new car.

    • fonso

      Highly unlikely at a time when councils are firing workers en masse and rehiring them on lesser terms.

      • craig Post author

        No, it’s actually perfectly possible. The small business Covid grants come through the local authority, depend on the rateable value of the property your business is in.

      • Wazdo

        This from the Guadian. “Wigan council has given out over £64m in Covid grants to 5,850 local businesses, but local unemployment has still rocketed.”

  • L. Campbell

    The UK is a Banana Republic in all ways except one: we still can’t grow bananas, despite climate change; although I have no doubts on that score either. Some bright spark will come up with a fake banana-producing CV and the UKG will throw lots of money at it in exchange for donations to the Tory corruption fund and the rest of us will be left with the banana skins to slip on when we try to chase up the scams. These B’Stards will destroy everything now, everything that a whole generation of youth fought for in two world wars, and for which many gave their lives. In just over 60 years, they, with the help of New Labour have ruined the UK and taken so much money out of the economy to place into private hands that we are likely to be crippled for a very long time, even if we manage to stop the rot now. That people actually vote for these sociopaths and psychopaths, these devotees of Mammon, is beyond belief. Yet they do: the terminally self-interested; the vested interests; the irredeemably selfish. I doubt that it can be fixed without social upheaval on a scale never before witnessed in the UK (or maybe, just England by then). I can hear the distant rumble of the tumbrils. These creatures never learn. They must always be taught. Era after era after era. People will tolerate only so much then they will tolerate it no longer. Nowadays, there is nowhere for these creatures to hide, even under the warm pebbles of Caribbean beaches or the rocks of the remotest islands or luxury Greek villas on steep hillsides strewn with chunks of ancient, broken marble. These stones, rocks and pebbles will be lifted and the scurrying, loathsome parasites beneath will be exposed to the light.

  • glenn_uk

    No wonder the government were completely uninterested in offers from British companies to supply PPE:

    https://labour.org.uk/press/dozens-of-companies-offering-ppe-ignored-by-government-labour-reveals/

    They already had the whole thing stitched up, so to speak. Same sort of thing happened in the US – the Trump administration didn’t want the WHO tests for C-19, there was too much money to be made developing their own. Their own tests didn’t work, unfortunately.

    Back in the day, one would hear howls of outrage from the Sun, Mail, Express etc. about the “loony left” throwing away taxpayer, sorry, the “hard pressed” taxpayer’s money.

  • David

    uk gov spent £15B on PPE, according to the daily telegraph and they’d apparently like to know exactly how it was spent…

    contrast that with Italy, not a banana republic, where I’m presently located. The newspapers yesterday mentioned that the Governor of Lombardy Province (Atillo Fontana) bought loads of PPE, naturally, in mid-April 2020.

    0.5M€ of which for medical gowns & stuff ‘accidentally’ bought from companies owned by his wife (Roberta Dini) & his cousin (Andrea Dini) etc (nice designer PPE from Paul&Shark)

    It was on local TV news this morning, and it’s in all the italian papers https://milano.repubblica.it/cronaca/2020/06/07/news/attilio_fontana_moglie_camici_coronavirus_regione_lombardia-258640796/

    not a UK ‘torygraph’ *thinking* that UK £15B PPE budget *ought* to be looked-into, elsewhere, it *is* actively being looked-into

    [Governor Fontana says:”I didn’t know anything and I didn’t intervene in any way]

    • David

      oh, and the Bergamo Public Prosecutors have already interviewd the Italian PM, Conte, around a month ago. The interior Minister & the Health minister were also grilled, for around three hours. Prosecutors are trying to legally determine if there are any grounds for charges of criminal negligence.

      Surely Mr Johnson & Mr Barnard-Castle will be similarly grilled by the ‘met?

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