A controversial lobbyist with connections to Priti Patel, Boris Johnson and No 10. Advisor Munira Mirza has helped win approval for a lateral flow test marketed by a tiny shell company.
Good Law Project has obtained emails showing that former Health Secretary Matt Hancock was lobbied by Samir Jassal and Surbjit Shergil on behalf of Mediport Limited.
The pair approached Matt Hancock on several occasions in January 2021 asking the former minister to ‘assist’ Mediport in ‘seeking the validation’ required from the Government to enable the firm to sell its lateral flow device.
One email seen by Good Law Project sent by the middlemen to the former health secretary in early January 2021 under the subject ‘Mediport Rapid Antigen Test’, said:
“Matt, you have been most helpful previously, could you perhaps assist Tom in seeking the validation?
“I must re-iterate, we want no assistance with the Tender process nor do we seek to influence the process – we merely require the validation, which I believe falls under your remit.”
Despite concerns being expressed about the tests in emails, a recent update has revealed Mediport has now succeeded in obtaining authorisation.
Other deeply troubling transactions involving Samir Jassal and Surbjit Shergill have been referred by Good Law Project to the Serious Fraud Office. You can read more about those transactions here.
From: Samir Jassal
Sent: 06 January 2021 12:46
To: Tom XXX
Cc: ‘Matt Hancock’
Subject: Mediport Rapid Antigen Test
Hi Tom/ Matt
Further to your advice (Tom), my team uploaded a question about receiving the phase 3a validation letter on the Atamis portal. Unfortunately the response was to contact the Covid-19 Innovation Team – which I have since done, however I am sure you know that they rarely respond to emails.
I know you spoke to our manufacturing colleague Daniel Palsager this morning, stipulating once again that the phase 3a has been validated for the oral test and that the nasal test would be forthcoming. Is there any way that we could see sight of the phase 3a validation for the tests please as a matter of urgency – I appreciate your efforts with Daniel and would be most grateful for this assistance.
Matt, you have been most helpful previously, could you perhaps assist Tom in seeking the validation?
I must re-iterate, we want no assistance with the Tender process nor do we seek to influence the process – we merely require the validation, which I believe falls under your remit.
From: Surbjit Shergil
Sent: 13 January 2021 12:19
To: samir jassal
Cc: Tom.XXX; ‘Matt Hancock’
Subject: FW: MediPort Validation Status Update
Please see below and I have also attached an email from Hannah which is very surprising and detrimental to the tender.
Matt – I’ve been asked to CC you into this email by Samir as this is clearly an issue of national importance.
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