The long-awaited report on the face mask deal with entrepreneur Sywert van Lienden is most likely not ready for the summer. Research agency Deloitte has informed Minister Helder for Long-Term Care. An unnamed involved party probably wants more time for counterpart.
The House of Representatives has been waiting for a long time to investigate the state of affairs around the millions of euros that the government lost to entrepreneur and media personality Van Lienden for unusable face masks. In the corona crisis, Van Lienden sold some 40 million Chinese face masks to the ministry for more than 100 million euros despite a negative advice from officials.
In April, CDA Minister De Jonge had to defend himself in a tough debate against a very critical opposition about his role in the controversial face mask deal. He had said that he was not involved in the deal, but apps that de Volkskrant made public revealed involvement of the minister.
The problem during the debate was that, apart from the Van de Jonge app traffic, there was little clarity about the exact state of affairs in the conclusion of the deal.
Deloitte is hard at work with the independent investigation, but has to review thousands of pages of internal documents. The research office says “everything in its power” to get the first partial report off as soon as possible, writes the minister to the House of Representatives.
In an investigation, an argument must always be asked. This may be two weeks in this case, but there is a run out to four weeks. It is not yet entirely certain whether the unknown party involved will take that maximum time.
If that is the case, Minister Helder can send a fact-story to the House of Representatives for the summer. There is no cabinet response to that. It is now up to the House of Representatives to decide to wait for the full report with cabinet response or to settle for the record of facts first.