For those of you who consider me too critical of England… The Dutch have a PPE scandal too. One guy (former lobbyist/commentator Sywert van Lienden) made over 9 million euros (30 million, with two partners) on the purchase and sales of 40 million face masks. He sold them to the Dutch government for 100 million euros.
(He apparently initially claimed to be providing the masks “for free” or at cost through a non-profit, while he was in fact making good money.)
(They were not even considered still urgently needed by some at the time.)
He asked the Dutch government to pay 2.52 euro (2.28 and 2.78) while others were selling them at 1.50, including transport and import fees. The Dutch government chose to buy from the seller with the high price. He also sold some at 1.50, to others.
The problem may have been that civil servants have no idea of the market, its fluctuations and of what is a reasonable price and what isn’t.
The price difference may also relate to a difference in quality, however.
The Dutch government is launching an external investigation into the matter.
In the UK, such initiatives are rarely taken by the government but usually by organisations like the Good Law Project which have to take the UK government to court over such matters. You will also note a difference in scale between what happened in the Netherlands and what happened in the UK.
We earlier saw that Dutch civil servants acted very passively with regard to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine that is being produced in the Netherlands.
(Gleaned from a quick look at Dutch media.)Continue reading