A report by the National Crime Agency (NCA) has come to light detailing all ‘reports’ of potential fraud and other suspicious activities connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The document, which was in June, details all ‘reports’ that the NCA has found that show potential criminal actions.
The NCA has picked up on reports of ‘abuse’ of the Government Priority Schemes; ‘a number of reports’ of funds being issued by the government being sent to jurisdictions deemed to be ‘high risk’; ‘ Private sector fraud and Money laundering.
The report also references reports in relation to PPE Procurement, both in terms of ‘online scams’ against the public and the ‘large-scale procurement contracts’. VB has previously investigated one of the many ‘PPE Procurement’ contracts and found that £108 Million pounds had been agreed to be paid to ‘Clandeboye Agencies Ltd’ in Northern Ireland to supply PPE; However, when we looked at the companies history it was found that they have no history with the shipment, procurement or sale of PPE, rather they were found to specialise in the sales of nuts and coffee! (Read all about it here).
Talking about the PPE ( Personal Protective Equipment) Procurement contracts, the NCA said: “There continue to be cases of suspected fraud involving the supply of PPE, both in terms of large-scale procurement contracts and in online scams relating to sales direct to the public.
“As well as cases where funds are known to have been transferred, there are others where the account holder claims that funds transferred into or out of their account are to source PPE for others, but there is no supporting evidence of any contracts with, or any funds paid out by, the UK government.
“Whilst it is possible that such cases may genuinely be individuals sourcing PPE through their own contacts, it cannot be ruled out that they are claiming involvement in PPE provision to obscure their involvement in trade-based money laundering, as highlighted in previous UKFIU reporting.”
Questions on governments private PPE procurement contracts remain unanswered. Hundreds of millions worth of contracts were agreed to between government and companies, who for the most have no record of working in the healthcare industry, or that they can fulfil the contracts.
The Army, for the UK government, obtained 10 BILLION items of PPE at a cost of £5 Billion pounds. Between March and July, during the UK’s COVID19 ‘peak’, the NHS in England had used almost 2-and-a-half billion individual PPE items; so while the UK will absolutely need PPE for winter and the long term, the question persists, did the government really need to spend a large, additional amount of money on PPE?
We have contacted the NCA for comment. Read our most recent article which looks at the PPE procurement ‘scandal’ and the amounts of PPE government has bought here.