Yesterday I set out how relationships with political figures in Government could be leveraged by suppliers to achieve supernormal profits.
At the moment I am still focusing on apparent overpayments for IIR facemasks.

This exercise is difficult because Government is - for no good reason - deliberately redacting contracts to remove all transparency over historical per unit prices paid. But sometimes it slips up.
The highest price I have yet seen paid for IIR facemasks was paid in a £69.6m contract with "Uniserve Group."

(The name of the counterparty itself is remarkable given the size of the contract - there is no legal entity called Uniserve Group. Legally, it doesn't exist.)
The price paid to "Uniserve Group" on a contract entered into on 14/4/20 was 87p per unit for 80,000,000 IIR facemasks (…). This represents a surplus of about 36p per mask over the Government's benchmark price on that date - or a surplus of at least £28.8m.
Although there is no such legal entity, "Uniserve" is well known as a freight company. Its twitter account boasts - as of Friday - of having completed 542 charter flights of PPE. However, this also raises questions as there is no published freight contract with Uniserve.
Raising further questions are Government documents I have seen which mandate the use of Uniserve to transport PPE to the UK - and ask PPE supplies to remove Uniserve freight costs "as these are paid centrally by DHSC."
Supergenerous pricing ('profits' of at least £28.8m on a single £69.6m contract), with a legal entity that does not exist, supplying 542 flights of PPE some or all being under an unlawfully unpublished contract, with other suppliers compelled to use it.

Who is this Uniserve?
What appears to be the group holding company, Uniserve Holdings Limited, is controlled by a Mr Iain Liddell. You can see him here with his local MP, @JuliaLopezMP, who works in, you guessed it, the Cabinet Office.…
You can also see Mr Liddell (centre) alongside Lewis Hamilton in a news release which boasts of Uniserve being "the official logistics partners of the UK government’s ‘Exporting is Great Campaign‘" (…).
Mr Liddell also held various roles with "Prosperity UK" a prominent lobby group that boasted of "coming together to make Brexit a success" and where he will have rubbed shoulders with a number of prominent pro-Brexit politicians and thought-leaders.
Now, for the avoidance of doubt, I do not say the award of hugely generous contract(s) to "Uniserve Group" (whatever that is), and the mandating of Uniserve for freight, and the lack of transparency, is corrupt. I simply say there are very real questions to be answered.

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More from @JolyonMaugham

16 Oct
You may remember Crisp Websites Limited, trading as Pestfix, the company with last reported net assets of £18,047. THREAD Image
And you may remember that, notwithstanding that Pestfix had substantially no net assets, Government agreed to pay 75% upfront for £32m of isolation suits. Image
And you may remember this thread in which I explain why I believe those isolation suits are unusable . And even Government admitted as of 1 July 2020 the isolation suits had not been tested. Image
Read 8 tweets
13 Oct
Yesterday I showed how, on Govt's own figures, it overpaid a politically connected PPE supplier by £36m+ for IIR facemasks.

In fact, if you look at the contract as a whole, which included FFP2 facemasks, the overpayment was much higher. I'll come back to that in a moment.
But, first, bear in mind that although contracts were awarded by DHSC the key triaging of bids and supplier due diligence was undertaken by Cabinet Office.

That casts a certain pall on explanations like this - provided by Ayanda to journalists - about the role of Andrew Mills.
I will return in the coming days to some correlations between highly generous pricing and relationships between the beneficiaries of that pricing and key figures in Cabinet Office.
Read 12 tweets
12 Oct
I am hugely grateful to everyone who has contributed to our crowdfunder in which - along with @LaylaMoran, @CarolineLucas and @Debbie_abrahams - we are seeking to force Government to come clean about the (more than) £3bn of PPE contracts they are keeping under wraps. /1
We have lifted the stretch target to £75k. This very substantial sum is also considerably less than our exposure to costs should we fight and lose. But it is also considerably more than it will cost us if we succeed (and we believe we should). /2
I am afraid - although I have been crowdfunding for over four years - I have not yet found any comfortable way to balance this equation. Even where you can be confident any surplus will be used for good reasons it is sub-optimal for us to raise more than we need. /3
Read 6 tweets
12 Oct
Last night, I said that I was aware of evidence DHSC had been paying higher prices for PPE to connected suppliers. And that I was working to put that evidence into the public domain. We are in possession of a lot of evidence that suggests as much, but I can share the following.
The Ayanda contract was entered into on 29 April 2020 (you can read it here…). It was entered into by Ayanda Capital Limited, owned through a particularly ugly tax haven, by the Horlick family.
However, the original offer came from Prospermill Limited, a boxfresh £100 company that had never traded and which was owned by then Board of Trade advisor (now departed), Breitbart, Liz Truss and Hard Brexit enthusiast, Andrew Mills.
Read 11 tweets
11 Oct
By letter of 7 September 2020, Matt Hancock via his lawyers told us "this year [PPE] contracts worth over £11 billion have been awarded to date" had been awarded by DHSC.
On 4 August 2020, Matt Hancock via his lawyers told us "the PPE buying programme... is no longer operating."
By regulation 50 of the Public Procurement Regulations the Government has to - it has no discretion - publish contract award notices within 30 days.
Read 6 tweets
9 Oct
If you might allow me the analogy, having two year waiting lists before you can be assessed to see whether you should be prescribed puberty blockers is like having five month waiting lists for an abortion. It's effectively a denial of treatment.
The consequence of denying safe, properly regulated access to puberty blockers is the same as the consequence of denying safe, properly regulated access to abortion. It drives those who need that care to riskier providers and massively increases the dangers to them.
And every attempt to remove a provider from the field - @TaviAndPort and now @GenderGP - makes life more dangerous for those who need that care. It will cause - directly and indirectly - massive harm to children.
Read 4 tweets

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