Saiger: an update

Of all the unusual PPE deals we lifted the lid on, it was one of the strangest.

In the early Summer of 2020, Government awarded contracts worth over £250m to Saiger, a jeweller based in Florida, for the supply of PPE. Saiger had previously admitted it had no experience in supplying PPE.

We then revealed that Saiger had paid $28m to a colourful ‘middleman’ to help with vaguely defined services in connection with the deal – and planned to pay $22m more. And that the PPE that was purchased was bought at an inflated price and included products that were not suitable for use.

It is a now-familiar story of profiteering, secrecy and waste.

In February 2021, the Court granted us permission to bring our judicial review, indicating that it agreed that there were proper questions to ask about the contract. We hoped the litigation would allow us to get to the bottom of what had happened. But the case was then put on hold by the Court while some of our other PPE cases, with similar legal arguments, were determined.

Although permission was granted in Saiger, more recent courts have shown a reluctance to look at pandemic procurement. In the circumstances, we have decided that it is not a good use of your money to proceed with this claim. We have agreed with Government not to continue with the claim, and to pay their reasonable costs up to their summary grounds of resistance. We are pleased to have broken this story, and that the court gave us permission, but the change in temperature in the courts means we do not think it makes sense to take it forward.