PPE Medpro declined to say how it would pay the millions if asked to do so

Company awarded major government personal protective equipment (PPE) contracts following an introduction by a Conservative peer michelle mone has refused to say how it will pay the public millions of pounds for unused equipment if ordered to do so after a dispute with the government.

Guardian reported this week Leaked documents indicate that Monáe and her children secretly received £29 million generated from the profits of these contracts, when their support helped the company PPE Medpro secure a place in the “VIP lane”. , which was used by the government to prioritize firms during the Covid pandemic. with political connections.

Following Mone’s approach, PPE Medpro won government contracts worth £203m to supply face masks and sterile surgical gowns.

leaked documents that were compiled By hsbcJust months after securing the contract, show PPE Medpro paid at least £65m in profits to Monae’s husband, Isle of Man-based financier Douglas Barrowman. The documents indicate that Barrowman then made a series of distributions from those profits, including a secret £29m payment to a trust that benefited Monáe and her children.

However, PPE gowns supplied by Medpro under a second contract, for which the government had paid £122 million, were rejected by the department. Health and social care (DHSC) officers after a technical inspection, and has never been used in the NHS.

For the past 10 months, DHSC has been seeking to recover money from the company for the unused gowns through the dispute resolution process, arbitration.

On Thursday, the Guardian asked Anthony Page, a The director of PPE Medpro, given the revelation that the company paid at least £65m in profits to Barrowman, will have the funds available to repay the government regardless of the outcome of the arbitration.

Neither Page nor his attorney responded.

Page has said the gown has passed inspection and PPE MedPro is entitled to keep the money.

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on Thursday, in response to a quick question in commons Deputy leader of the Labor Party, Angela Rayner, to junior health minister Neil O’Brien described the PPE Medpro gown contract as “underperforming”. O’Brien said court action would be taken if the parties could not reach a satisfactory settlement.

The minister said the DHSC had “a big team” working on recovering money from companies whose PPE contracts were “underperforming”. The government has come under sustained pressure to do so following a series of highly critical reports on its PPE purchases during the coronavirus pandemic. Of the £12bn spent, the DHSC £9bn written off on PPE that was either substandard, defective, past its use-by date or dramatically overpriced.

Mone and Barrowman have repeatedly insisted that they had no “involvement” in PPE Medpro and “no role” in the process through which the company was awarded its government contracts.

Earlier this year, the The Guardian revealed Mone first contacted Michael Gove in May 2020 and offered to supply PPE through its “team in Hong Kong”. This approach was created even before the company was incorporated.

Gove, now back to leveling up as cabinet minister under increasing pressure To explain his role in the subsequent award of contracts to PPE Medpro. He said this week that he referred all proposals for PPE to “appropriate civil service channels”. emails issued However, after a Freedom of Information Act request, show The Guardian After contacting Gove, Monáe contacted Theodore Agnew, the Cabinet Office minister responsible for procurement, on his personal email.

She told Agnew: “Michael Gove has asked you to contact him urgently [sic], Though we have managed to get PPE masks [sic] My team in Hong Kong.

Moné’s proposal was then forwarded to civil servants operating a “VIP lane”, which gave high priority to PPE recommendations from MPs, peers and other politically connected people. Within weeks, the DHSC had awarded an £80.85m contract to supply 210m face masks to the newly formed company, followed by a £122m gown contract on 25 June 2020.

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The leaked documents were compiled by the Guardian this week by HSBC, whose executives became concerned about millions of pounds flowing from profits on PPE deals through various accounts linked to Barrowman and Mone. The HSBC report said in September 2020 Barrowman was paid at least £65 million in “profits” from the PPE deal. It said the money was transferred in two tranches to the Warren Trust, one of Barrowman’s Isle of Man trusts, using the “distribution” reference.

From there, a total of £45.8m was transferred to Barrowman’s personal HSBC Isle of Man bank account. In turn, that account transferred £28.8m to the Keristol Trust in October 2020, whose beneficiaries, bank records indicate, were Monae and her children, the report said.

The “settlers” of the Keristol trust — a reference to the individuals who created or funded it — were Barrowman and another person associated with PPE Medpro, the document indicates. The document states that the bank account of Keristol Trust was opened in May 2020. In the same month, Mone recommended PPE Medpro to Gove and Agnew.

HSBC was unable to confirm any concerns of wrongdoing by the couple, but it identified a number of “risks” associated with retaining Barrowman and Monáe as clients – including what it saw as potential reputational damage to the bank. Gone. Multiple sources have told the Guardian that HSBC then decided to drop the couple as customers.

When contacted about the new revelations, HSBC said it was unable to comment, even without confirming whether the couple were customers. An attorney for Monáe said: “There are many reasons why our client cannot comment on these issues and she has no duty to do so.”

An attorney representing Barrowman and PPE MedPro said an ongoing investigation limited what their clients could say on these matters. He added: “At the moment we are also directed to say that there are many inaccuracies in the depiction of alleged ‘facts’ and many of them are completely wrong.”

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The Standards Commissioner of the House of Lords, who is investigating whether Moné breached rules governing the conduct of peers by failing to register an interest in PPE Medpro and lobbying for the company said this week he was unable to finalize his report while a criminal investigation was ongoing.

The National Crime Agency is investigating possible fraud related to PPE Medpro and in April searched the homes of Mone and Barrowman. No arrests or charges have been made. Monáe has denied breaking Lord’s conduct rules.

Read full story at the guardian.com

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