Covid test maker Randox has delayed release of its audited results amid mounting scrutiny over the government’s decision to award it contracts worth almost £777m.
The delay to publication comes after the UK’s public spending watchdog said the government failed to document the procurement process that led to Randox being awarded 22 government contracts for Covid testing services.
Speaking to The Times, the PCR test maker blamed the delays on auditor PwC, as it claimed the hold up is the result of the impacts of Covid.
“PwC requires longer to sign off the audited accounts because their team has been disrupted by Covid,” Randox said. “A three-month extension has been granted. Randox anticipates PwC will complete their work by late April.”
However, sources speaking to City A.M. said the delays are not linked to the impacts of Covid-19 or to any outbreaks of the virus in PwC’s offices.
The hold-up comes after the UK government paid Randox as much as £776.9m between January 2020 and December 2021 for Covid testing services, without holding a competitive tender.
It is expected that the government contracts will come as a major boost to Randox’s revenues, after it posted revenues of £218m for the 18 month period leading up to June 2020 and generated an operating loss of £11m.
In a report the government’s National Audit Office (NAO) last week said the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) failed to properly document its interactions with Randox as it warned of “gaps in the audit trail”.
“The Department did not document key decisions adequately, disclose ministerial meetings with Randox fully or keep full records of ministerial discussions involving Randox,” the NAO said.
“The gaps in the audit trail mean that it is not possible to provide positive assurance in the normal way, but we have not seen any evidence that the government’s contracts with Randox were awarded improperly.”
The NAO’s claims come after it was reported that Conservative MP Owen Paterson had lobbied the government, on behalf of Randox, in March 2019, whilst working as a consultant for the diagnostics company.