Crony Capitalism: Sunak Family Firm in Line for Millions in New Public Contracts

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State Loot
State Loot: The Unseemly Scramble for Government Contracts

Corporate Government: Sunak’s Family and the Privatisation of Public Money

As greed corrodes the soul of our politics, the unseemly scramble for preferential government contracts reaches new lows. The latest revelations around Infosys, the IT firm part-owned by Rishi Sunak’s wife, make an unsavory spectacle. While the prime minister publicly preaches probity, his family engorges itself at the public trough.

Infosys has secured plum positions as a supplier on major contracts worth upwards of £750 million. The firm was founded by Sunak’s father-in-law and grants the Sunak family millions in annual dividends. Conveniently, it now stands to reap taxpayers’ money through crony arrangements that reek of moral hazard.

Infosys was founded by Sunak’s father-in-law, Indian IT billionaire NR Narayana Murty. It has over 300,000 employees around the world. 

Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty owns around 39m shares in Infosys, a 0.94% stake worth around £610m based on the firm’s current valuation. Murty received £13.5m in dividends from Infosys last year. 

Infosys is one of 62 suppliers on a £562.5m contract for IT services published by the Financial Conduct Authority in October, according to the government’s Contracts Finder website. 

The firm is also one of 25 suppliers on a £250m contract published by NHS Shared Business Services last month for “intelligent automation”.

These framework agreements empower public bodies to grant contracts directly without additional tendering. While no awards have been finalized, Infosys could potentially receive millions in taxpayers’ money.

Infosys has secured a minimum of £66 million in public contracts since 2015, with over £47 million granted since Rishi Sunak assumed the role of Chancellor in February 2020.

Previous concerns regarding the allocation of public contracts to Infosys have been raised. In 2022, Angela Rayner, Labour’s shadow deputy prime minister, highlighted that Sunak’s “close family are personally benefiting from lucrative public contracts.”

Infosys has also had meetings with numerous government ministers. Last April, the IT firm had a meeting with trade minister – and longtime Tory donor – Lord Dominic Johnson “to discuss operations in the UK”.

Peter Geoghegan who much work on this story sent a Freedom of Information request asking for minutes and notes from that meeting. It was rejected outright. 

The department for business and trade said that there was “a public interest in the disclosure of information” – but that was trumped by the need to give companies confidence that they “can share sensitive material with government”.

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Shortly after that meeting, Somerset Capital Management LLP, the investment firm set up by Lord Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg, increased its stake in Infosys by around £18m, to £105m, according to a report in the Sunday Mirror.

The connections between Rishi Sunak’s family company and recent events have raised eyebrows. Notably, just a short while before Sunak granted hundreds of new North Sea drilling licenses, Infosys, secured a highly lucrative billion-dollar deal with BP.

Gaslighting gaza
Gaslighting and Geopolitics: Israel’s Resource Ambitions in Gaza

On October 23rd, 2023, Israel’s Energy Ministry awarded 12 licenses to six companies to explore natural gas off the country’s Mediterranean coast.

The license awards, which came as the Israel-Hamas conflict entered its fourth week, included BP. A large field of that gas belongs to the Palestinean people. it could well be the most lucrative field as it lies just a few miles offshore from GAZA.

The discoveries of natural gas in the Levant Basin are in the range of 122 trillion cubic feet while recoverable oil is estimated at 1.7 billion barrels, according to the study, entitled “The Economic Cost of Occupation for the Palestinian People: The Unrealized Oil and Natural Gas Potential”.

This offered an opportunity to distribute and share billions in untapped gas and oil. This could have promoted cooperation if equitably shared. But history proves that human nature favours greed over justice. One party invariably wants it all, no matter the means.

The timing of these events certainly appears to be a fortunate coincidence for this privileged family circle. However, it seems that when building a dynasty, such alliances and potential conflicts of interest are often brushed aside, regardless of the implications for the British public’s resources.

From PR Pledges to Public Plunder: Sunak’s Credibility in Crisis

pigs to the trough
KLEPTOCRACY pigs to the trough

Time and again, the insatiable avarice of our elites pierces through the PR facade. Rules get bent, access gets monetized, the privileged cash in. The code of chivalry that once ennobled public service is now but a quaint relic. No longer do parliamentarians from any Party stand to serve the people, only themselves and their corporate masters. Gone are aims of common good. In its place we see base ambition masked by hollow protestations of propriety.

Indeed, the failure of our political leaders to even attempt to ensure a safe future for us represents a crisis of legitimacy of almost unfathomable proportions.

― Naomi Klein

Sunak capsized Boris Johnson on a pledge to restore integrity, yet his own ship seems riddled with leaks. First came revelations around his wife’s tax status and his own low effective rate. Now the family business angles for state loot. Are we to believe no strings get pulled, no lines blurred? His credibility sinks below the waves.

It is no secret Sunak’s wife’s wealth has often been a source of controversy for the PM since it was revealed in 2022 that she was a ‘non-dom’. Akshata Murty subsequently said that she was giving up her non-dom status and pledged to pay UK tax on her worldwide income. 

Sunak’s own wealth – and tax affairs – have also been in the spotlight. The prime minister is reported to be the richest ever occupant of Number 10.

Even if no technical impropriety occurred, the smell is foul. The ministerial code once meant more than legal minimalism. It represented duty to country before personal gain. This ethic now feels forgotten as politicians treat power like a cash machine.

When greed is incentivized and checks weak, abuses multiply. The only cure lies in rigorous reforms and renewed civic morality. Public service must mean public spirit, not privatized racketeering. We have entered the age of corporate government a partnership between big business and Westminster where public money is plundered and distributed at the top.

The saddest thing springs to mind, even when this government is kicked to the curb where it belongs, what follows will offer only more of the same…

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