A British company that has helped the Dutch government with the purchase of face masks, splash goggles and jackets is being taken to court by the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. Blokhuis reported this to the Secretary of the House of Representatives after a publication last month in the Volkskrant.
Buyers from the British wholesaler of medical supplies Bunzl have during their work negotiated about 2 million euros in commissions for VWS from Chinese suppliers. That money was paid by the government through the purchase of the protective equipment, without the government having been discussed.
Bunzl had correctly intended for the work on a non-profit basis when purchasing the goods. These were used for the Dutch healthcare sector, where scarcity had arisen due to the pandemic.
The ministry has asked Bunzl to repay the commissions, but the company has no intention of doing so. “This is about taxpayers’ money and that is why my ministry has made an effort to rectify this irregularity. Moreover, Bunzl has stated in the article of de Volkskrant and acknowledged on its website that commissions have been negotiated. So there is no misunderstanding about that,” says Blokhuis. That is why VWS wants to recover the financial damage from the company.