I wrote a furious article about the £250 million PPE contract inexplicably awarded to the “family office” Ayanda Capital, an investment house for private wealth tax avoidance. We now learn £150 million of face masks delivered are unusable as they do not meet the required standards.
The Times today reports the NHS year’s supply of top level “FFP2” masks for surgical and similar use – 43 million of them – delvered by Ayanda failed regulatory testing. This was entirely predictable. As I wrote on 8 July:
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.
Plainly Ayanda Capital had no pretence of every having the expertise to undertake this kind of procurement. The excellent piece of investigative journalism (and what a delight it is to be able for once to say that) by the Times’ Billy Kenber reveals something still more horrifying. He says the deal was put together by a “government adviser” who is also an “adviser” to Ayanda Capital.
So there you have the answer to how this obscure and completely inappropriate company landed this massive contract; simple network corruption, with a Tory “adviser” taking a cut from both ends. It speaks volumes of how Johnson’s Tories view government; an opportunity for self-enrichment through getting their hands on the state purse. Covid-19 may seem a disaster to us, to them it is an opportunity. Procurement regulations are suspended. Massive contracts are thrown around with no checks and no competition. Public health functions like test and trace are thrown to new start-up companies owned by their their mates instead of being run by the established public infrastructure in councils and the NHS. It is a big, money-making Tory Bonanza.
We do not just need a public inquiry. We need people to go to prison. All those involved in the Ayanda Capital PPE contract would be a good start.
I have just seen this absolutely astonishing thread from Jolyon Maugham at 6.25am this morning. It really is mind-blowing. Not only did the “adviser”, named as Andrew Mills, set this all up, he himself established an intermediary company in the transaction to cream off a fortune.
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