A firm linked to Samir Jassal, a two-time Conservative Party parliamentary candidate and former councillor, was awarded a £102.6 million Government PPE contract without any competition in July last year. It was only after our lawyers wrote to Government in March this year to ask about Pharmaceuticals Direct that this contract was disclosed, long after Boris Johnson had insisted all contract details were on record.
Samir Jassal is a well-connected figure within the Conservative Party. According to his LinkedIn, he was an adviser in No.10 during Cameron’s premiership. We have identified three occasions on which he has met Boris Johnson, with the last meeting held in October 2020. Jassal has also worked with several other prominent Conservative Party figures, including the Home Secretary Priti Patel and Minister Zac Goldsmith. He has also donated £4,000 to the Conservative Party in recent years.
The £102.6 million contract is not the only contract awarded to Pharmaceuticals Direct by the Department for Health and Social Care – Jassal’s firm received an earlier contract for Type IIR masks in May 2020, worth £28.8 million. Both deals were directly awarded to the firm without any competition. We have reason to think there are other contracts that remain unpublished.
The High Court has already ruled that Government acted unlawfully by failing to publish details of Covid-related contracts. The appearance of bias when it comes to the award of lucrative contracts without competition is cause for even more concern.
The more detail we uncover on PPE contracts awarded by Government, the more serious the questions that arise. Once again Government’s amnesia when it comes to its legal obligations has prevented timely public scrutiny of a nine-digit contract awarded to a firm with close links to No 10.
To protect public funds, we intend to get answers.
We have instructed leading procurement lawyers Jason Coppel QC and Rupert Paines and Bindmans LLP. The case will be crowdfunded. If you are in a position to support this legal challenge, you can do so here: http://crowdjustice.com/case/contracts-for-conservatives
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