Coronavirus

Nüßlein affair: Mails also bring Minister Spahn into need of explanation

Nüßlein referred to Health Minister Jens Spahn in his email.

Nüßlein referred to Health Minister Jens Spahn in his email.

picture alliance / dpa | Wolfgang Kumm

In spring 2020 things were turbulent in Berlin’s government district. Because there were by far not enough protective masks for doctors and nurses, the Federal Ministry of Health ordered masks all over the world until early summer.

In the end, more was ordered than actually needed. The open invoices from manufacturers run into the hundreds of millions of euros. The Nüßlein case, of all things, shows how chaotic the situation was. Apparently, in Spahn’s ministry, a member of parliament could not only initiate a mask deal, but also negotiate contract details worth millions with an official – all apparently with the approval of the minister.

On June 30, 2020, Nüßlein sent an email from his Bundestag address to the department head responsible for mask procurement in the Federal Ministry of Health. The letter that NewsABC.net has received was about a possible premature termination of a contract between the ministry and company L. Up until then, the Hessian company had supplied the Ministry of Health with masks. It is unclear what role Nüßlein played in the deal.

In his e-mail of June 30th, he first listed very precise figures on the masks delivered so far and also went into defective masks (“rejected because of broken nose wire”) that the company had delivered and now wants to replace. The bottom line is that “2,487,200 FFP2 masks (at 3.80 euros) and 1,500,000 FFP3 masks (at 6.80 euros) are still open,” Nüßlein calculated for the ministry.

Then the CSU politician apparently offered the department head a deal: The ministry should let L. out of the contract prematurely and only have to pay half of the open deliveries in return, wrote Nüßlein and seemed to be on an alleged appointment with Health Minister Jens Spahn ( CDU): “JS said I should discuss this with you. But it should be settled soon. ”The mail ends with the words“ VG Georg ”.

Is “JS” really a reference to Jens Spahn? Did Nüßlein want to put pressure on the employee by pointing this out? And did Spahn know about it?

A spokesman for the Ministry of Health said in response to a NewsABC.net request: “The Federal Minister of Health basically forwards all inquiries that he has about concluded contracts to the specialist level for processing – also in the case of Nüßlein.” but apparently, despite the reference to “JS”, one does not get involved. The “contract in question here (has) not yet been fully completed due to ongoing negotiations on quality issues,” the statement continues.

Nüßlein’s lawyer refused to answer questions from NewsABC.net. The fact is: The politician’s commitment to the mask manufacturer goes well beyond a mere offer transmitter, as it initially seemed at the end of last week. He is said to have received 660,000 euros for brokering the business.

As NewsABC.net revealed on Monday morning, Nüßlein urged the ministry in May to pay open bills amounting to millions not only for company L., but also for company K. from his constituency. For his letter, Nüßlein used the official letterhead of the CDU / CSU parliamentary group and the support of parliamentary group employees. Union parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) did not want to say anything on request, as did CSU state group leader Alexander Dobrindt. Nüßlein’s lawyer and the Ministry of Health were also silent.

On the other hand, the coalition partner of the CDU / CSU becomes clearer. Katja Mast, deputy chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group, told NewsABC.net: “Whatever comes to light now, slice by slice, destroys trust. Trust in democracy and those who represent it. ”

The fact that Haus Spahn also appears shows that there are more questions than answers – and that is bad, according to Mast. In any case, Spahn has been hailing criticism in recent weeks: the vaccination campaign has been stalling for weeks, his announced test strategy has been cashed in again by Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU). Most recently, it came to light that Spahn took part in a donation dinner in favor of the CDU last year and then tested positive for Covid-19, while he had publicly emphasized the importance of reducing contacts to only the bare minimum.

Mast is now calling for clarification: “People rightly expect that everything will be clarified completely and that the necessary consequences will follow. The CSU is also responsible for that. “

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