Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Home Forums Discussion Forum Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019 Reply To: Elections Aftermath: Was our 2019 Vote & the EU Referendum Rigged? #TORYRIG2019

Kim Sanders-Fisher

Sunak says you get a limited time offer ‘Meal Deal’ in August, while the Tory Corporate elite sop up the big bucks in mega deals that no longer go out to tender and don’t require any knowledge of, or assets in, the products and services they are contracted to provide! If it sounds like Tory Government corruption it most probably is… Surely Tory Ministers wouldn’t pull that trick yet again? Wasn’t it embarrassing enough when the Transport Secretary awarded that Brexit ferry contract to a company that had no ships? According to a Guardian Article, “Seaborne Freight’s £13.8m deal” was allegedly to provide, “support for new UK businesses…” Sure, like the unicorn trade! That was back then under the notorious loser ‘Failing Grayling.’ But this is now and the Tories are laughing all the way to the bank, because the duped British public simply never hold them to account. The Canary Article entitled, “The £5.5bn PPE scandal that goes to the core of government incompetence – and that’s just for starters” really opens up this can of worms.

The Canary report that, “A multi-million pound personal protective equipment (PPE) contract awarded by the UK government to a family-run investments firm has set off alarm bells.” Shockingly this is not an isolated incident; they also document, “Recipients for similar contracts include a recruitment agency, a sweets manufacturer, and a business that specialises in pest control products.” They say, “A Labour MP has raised questions about one of these contracts and litigation against the government has commenced.” The Canary, “has conducted its own investigation into these matters.” They say, “What has been highlighted so far may well be just the tip of the iceberg.” This is doubly distressing when we have heard of legitimate, highly experienced and appropriate companies, eager to offer good quality PPE products to the Government’s procurement team, who are turned away and then feel compelled to start selling their PPE to countries overseas despite the desperate shortage in our NHS Hospitals and Care Homes!

The Canary elaborate on a few of the dodgy details on Ayanda Capital Ltd (ACL), which they describe as, “an investments firm that specialises in ‘currency trading, offshore property, and private equity and trade financing’;” revealing that they were, “awarded a contract by the UK government worth £252.5m to supply face masks.” This despite the fact that the Canary say, “their ‘business lines’ suggest no history that this ‘London-based family office’ produces or provides PPE.” The Canary revealed that, “Ayanda is run by former Kleinwort Benson director Tim Horlick. It’s owned by the Horlick family via Milo Investments, a holding company registered in Mauritius,” a notorious offshore tax haven for the wealthy elite. They expose the fact, “Ayanda senior board adviser Andrew Mills is also an adviser to the government’s board of trade (which is chaired by international trade secretary Liz Truss).”

The Canary detail a number of other dubious connections that indicate our tax money is being misappropriated and not just poorly allocated but heaved sideways to crony Capitalists with tax haven bolt holes where they can hide the trousered cash. That is tax revenue that will in future need to be recouped; it will no doubt be squeezed back out of ordinary citizens in higher bills to cover diminished public services. Charitable Investment Funds, Including one for the Church of England, have recouped lost revenues during the Pandemic; they are also implicated in this evolving scandal. Canary report that, “The government awarded PPE contracts to a number of firms that also appeared to have no history of sourcing or providing PPE that’s suitable for the NHS. For example:

• Aventis Solutions, which was awarded an £18.5m contract to supply face masks. Avensis is an employment agency.
• Clandeboye Agencies Limited specialises in nut and coffee products, chocolate, and confectionary. It’s based in the north of Ireland and was awarded a £108m contract to provide PPE. It also trades as Crunchcraving. The Good Law Project and EveryDoctor are seeking a judicial review in regard to the contract.
• A £108m contract was also awarded to Crisp Websites Limited, trading as PestFix, a firm that specialises in pest control. The Good Law Project is suing the government regarding this contract and is seeking a judicial review. In an update, the government clarified that the PestFix award is actually £32m and covers isolation suits, though there are ‘a number of further contracts’.”

The Canary say, “the firms quoted above are only the tip of the iceberg.” The article includes a shocking list, “as of 8 July, of all single-bidder contracts awarded by the UK government, with costs totalling just under £1bn.” Considering the legal challenges in this area of Government corruption re awarding of contracts, it is blindingly obvious to see why Boris Johnson’s Tory Government are so eager to follow through with their manifesto pledge to eliminate the potential for Judicial review ASAP! The level of Tory accountability is already dismally poor, but the opposition aren’t exactly putting this corrupt cabal under robust scrutiny. It is the emerging scandals like this that make Starmer’s pathetic performance at the dispatch box during the last PMQs so frustrating; five out of six highly publicized interrogation opportunities wasted begging for an apology does not constitute even a moderate level of challenge! Will Starmer wave through the abolition of Judicial Review and the neutering of our Judiciary without a serious fight?

An iNews Article report exposed, “Details of the deal, published on the European Union’s Tenders Electronic Daily (TED) website, reveal that only one tender was submitted for the lucrative contract. Officials have been able to award contracts directly without prior publication and therefore without adhering to the usual procurement timetables in certain circumstances, one of which is for reasons of ‘extreme urgency’.” They say, “The latest cases were highlighted in a series of tweets by Jolyon Maugham QC, director of Good Law Project, which is seeking the judicial review.” He told iNews: “The fact that a £250m PPE contract has gone to an opaque family fund owned through a tax haven poses serious questions about how this Government has gone about procuring protective equipment for frontline staff during this pandemic.” He said, “Enormous sums of public money have been dished out on the basis of a highly unusual process that breaks all the normal procurement rules. To protect public funds and to try and prevent further PPE procurement failures, we intend to get answers.”

iNews reported that Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: “The Government’s response throughout the coronavirus crisis has been to hand more and more contracts to companies with no expertise or a poor record of delivery. From PPE to the test, trace and isolate system there have been a series of glaring failures from private companies who are found wanting on performance and value for money.” Madders said, “We need answers from the Government about why and how these companies can be awarded these contracts; we know existing suppliers have been dropped at the last minute, costing them thousands of pounds and wasting theirs and the taxpayers time. We need cast iron guarantees that the companies selected are genuinely the best for the task in hand and that they have no existing connections to Government.” It’s shocking to hear that ‘existing’ suppliers are being discarded!

iNews were told that, “The contracts awarded were in response to the public call to action issued by Government to support the increased requirements of PPE and do not include UK manufacturing contracts. Officials say proper due diligence is carried out for all government contracts and that they take these checks extremely seriously. The DHSC said it is prioritising companies that can provide large volumes of PPE at a fast pace, while ensuring all new PPE undergoes rigorous checks to ensure they meet the safety and quality required.” However, this statement entirely loses credibility when you realize that responsibility for the integrity of the supply has been outsourced to a company with no knowledge or experience of Healthcare or safety needs. Lack of oversight and the devolved responsibility of these outsourced supply chains invite serious problems, as occurred with protective gowns first delayed in shipment from Turkey and later failing to meet safety standards after they finally arrived. Who pays for these mistakes?

iNews said of DHSC that, “When asked if the Department was aware when it awarded the contract that ACL’s ultimate holding company is based in a tax haven and of Mr Mills’s role with the Board of Trade a spokesperson said it does not comment on individual company business operations.” They said, “We have a robust process which ensures that orders are of high quality standard, meet commercial due diligence and checked for risk and fraud.” Right, that would be after the kit has arrived in the UK and is found to be not fit for purpose or safe for protecting NHS staff.

The Canary say that, “With regard to a possible legal challenge by the Good Law Project (GLP) and Every Doctor Ltd (EDL) to how the contract to PestFix was awarded, the government’s legal department stated: [PestFix] did not hold itself out as a manufacturer, but rather as an agent with the ability to source PPE stocks from producers in the Republic of China, where it had good contacts. It offered a range of products in substantial quantities, including isolation suits which could be available in as little as seven days.” The Tory Government are overly keen on this outsourcing model where responsibility is dissipated and diminished through multiple layers, who must each take a cut, while the quality of the products purchased is devalued to enable a profit to be made at every level. How much better off would we be if we had contracted directly with reliable, experienced and appropriately knowledgeable UK manufacturers while depending on a significantly well maintained emergency stockpile to meet our most immediate needs?

Canary report that, “The government’s Legal Department also took the opportunity to provide a detailed rebuttal of the criticisms levied against the PPE procurement programme: Rather than focusing on the identity of the potential supplier, the validity of the offer was the key focus, thereby allowing smaller suppliers with strong contacts in PPE supply to offer the support the Government urgently needed. Equally, past experience in PPE supply was not considered a prerequisite, as other businesses (of whatever size) might also be able to leverage their manufacturing contacts to engage with foreign enterprises converting existing facilities to PPE production. While it was of course possible for DHSC to continue liaising with existing large-scale suppliers during this period (and indeed it did so, through NHS Supply Chain), the nature of the changed market conditions required the development of alternative sources of supply and it was appropriate not to impose unnecessary hurdles in the way of securing that objectives.”

The Canary also reported on a written question to Health Secretary Matt Hancock from Labour MP Justin Madders, who requested that, “further details of the PPE supplies arrangement with Ayanda be published.” In addition Madders had expressed his specific concerns regarding the unacceptable working conditions in some overseas factories, wanting to determine “as to whether PPE is being manufactured under conditions of modern slavery.” The Canary cite, “A Channel 4 News investigation revealed the shocking conditions in which migrant workers making PPE items in Malaysia were forced to work. They were employed by Top Glove, which has over 40 factories worldwide and supplies the NHS via Polyco Healthline. Similar allegations were made against Supermax, the European arm of another Malaysian firm.”

According to a Guardian Article, “Malaysia is the world’s largest producer of rubber gloves, but the industry has been accused of grossly exploiting its workforce, mostly impoverished migrants from Bangladesh and Nepal. Illegal recruitment fees, long hours, low pay, passport confiscation and squalid, overcrowded accommodation are commonplace, workers have claimed. Experts say such conditions leave them vulnerable to forced labour and debt bondage, which are modern forms of slavery.” If the Tories could totally destroy the unions and legally impose slave labour conditions here in the UK we would be sourcing from British manufacturers!

This scandal the Canary say, “dramatically shows the extent of the government’s lack of long-term planning” reporting that, ”As regarding PPE preparedness, Labour MP and chair of the Public Accounts Committee Meg Hiller commented: What has emerged …is a shocking gap in the UK’s planning in this emergency. We saw all of this coming, for months and in fact years. We could have planned for emergency procurement too in; reality there should have been no need to resort to rushed awards of potentially dodgy contracts. It’s not good enough to say, as seems to be the official line now, that the future will judge. The pandemic is still active now and we’re at risk of a second wave. Indeed, the real scandal is about not only how PPE contracts were awarded. It’s about the tens of thousands of lives that might have been saved had the proper equipment been available in the first place. These include the thousands of patients sent back to Care Homes where there was little or no PPE. Sadly, it’s a tragedy that’s still unfolding.”

While buying up cheap PPE supplies at the lowest possible cost overseas despite the unacceptable delays that left frontline staff unprotected, at the opposite end of the scale there was serious money to be made in the procurement of high tech equipment like ventilators. The Brexiteers favoured Corporate cronies were there to offer tangential expertise; Dyson could reinvent the vent in record time for a hefty fee. The Tory sponsored gravy-train was boundless, with newly converted ‘Nightingale’ emergency Hospital facilities popping up right across the country. The seriously beleaguered NHS lacked the staff to man the rapidly expanded ward capacity so the Nightingale’s remained virtually unused. Meanwhile, without Covid testing, elderly were transferred to Care Homes to seed the virus among their vulnerable residents and unprotected minimum wage staff. Johnson blaming the unprotected Care Home staff for the alarming death toll was despicable, but Starmer targeting Tory failings was a priority: Jonson will not apologise!

The ‘Holocaust in Care’ was an entirely avoidable cull of the ‘economically inactive’ population receiving costly care: an expense that this Tory Government was eager to ruthlessly eliminate. This consciously manufactured tragedy was pursued by greedy Tory Ministers focused primarily on profits and rewarding the Corporate donors who bankrolled the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. But the cruel ‘Slaughter of the Sheeple” evolved from a discredited perversion of ‘Herd Immunity’ under the warped direction of the same unelected Chief Adviser, with an extreme eugenics agenda, who masterminded the stolen election. Cummings, universally loathed by the public at large, has seriously transgressed and should have been removed. Balking at such accountability, the PM has tried to fob us off with a meal deal, a break on VAT and newly permitted freedom to visit a pub. The PM is scared that Cummings might expose the crimes of this Tory Government, we must demand he goes: Cummings is the grenade, oust him and you pull the pin! DO NOT MOVE ON!