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For most of us, the pandemic was a catastrophe. But for a lucky few – those with a line to a Government Minister – it was a gold rush.
To benefit friends and donors Ministers set up what leaked internal documents brazenly referred to as a “VIP lane”. If a Minister referred you, you would get preferential treatment. Ministers claim the VIP lane was politically neutral – but every politician who made a successful referral into the VIP lane was a Tory.
And the sums were enormous.
We spent £12.5bn on PPE – of which over £10bn has been written off. We are now having to spend billions storing – and incinerating – PPE that ought never to have been bought.
We do not know how much of that £12.5bn went to VIPs – leaked documents held by GLP reveal the official figures are just untrue. But we do know that significant sums were recycled in the form of political donations to the Conservative Party.
Where is the law in all of this?
Despite the fact that Government’s Counter Fraud Function found there was “a high risk of fraud in the procurement of PPE” we have yet to see a single prosecution. Instead, Ministers pile pressure on police forces to devote resources to minor offences, linked to poverty, like shoplifting.
Under explicit pressure from Rishi Sunak, judges have closed the door on legal challenges. They have said, remarkably, that there is no public interest in how public money gets spent.
But we think there is.
Good Law Project holds huge amounts of never-before-published material relating to PPE contracts. It is possible we hold the only copy. We have heard from multiple sources of orders being given inside the Cabinet Office to destroy electronic pandemic data.
We anticipate a year-long, journalist-led, project on the misuse of public money, centred on the pandemic. But we need your help.
Will you help us?
Your donation will help us hire a journalist to uncover the misuse of public money. And to explore and, we hope, bring a private prosecution connected with the sleazy VIP lane.
Thanks so much for donating to this crowdfunder to help us uncover the misuse of public money.
Our fight for transparency isn’t easy and it is only possible thanks to the support of thousands of people like you, who give a monthly donation to support our work. If you’re in a position to start a monthly donation, you can do so here.
Thank you for supporting us to reach our target – we will now be able to hire an experienced investigative journalist. We are leaving the crowdfunder open because we also believe we have identified an opportunity to bring a private prosecution connected with Government’s sleazy VIP lane. This would be the first ever private prosecution we have brought. It is too early to say more but any further funds you donate will be used to explore, and we hope bring, that private prosecution.