Philippe Goffin was our Minister of Foreign Affairs and Defense for a large part of the pandemic. He was placed in this position by Didier Reynders who, after failing at the Council of Europe, was appointed to the post of European Commissioner for Justice.
His appointment to replace Reynders in these key positions is obviously not a coincidence. The position of Minister of Defense is particularly interesting when ordering new armaments. Covid-19 will further expand this authority.
The adventures of masks in Belgium
2018. Minister Maggie Deblock has the strategic stock of masks in Belgium destroyed.
April 25, 2020. Sophie Wilmès announces the distribution of one mask per inhabitant with refills in the form of filters. This file is entrusted to the Minister of Justice, Koen Geens. The latter orders 22 million filters for 7 million euros.
Finally, the Minister of Defense Philippe Goffin was asked to order masks. There is no longer any question of using the stock of filters which will remain unused. To everyone’s amazement, he chose a totally unknown company to produce this mask: Avrox.
How does this choice harm the interests of the Belgian citizen?
- Belgian companies applying for the market and by definition in a difficult commercial situation, felt systematically excluded.
- The corporate purpose of the Luxembourg company Avrox is car rental. De facto, one could wonder about its legitimacy in this market.
- The speed of delivery cited as the primary reason for choosing Avrox was not met.(1).
- The price justified by a fast delivery not respected was much more important than that of the Belgian candidates.(2)
- The reference shareholder of Avrox is a certain Hamzeh Talhouni. He is a Jordanian with an address in Malta and a holding company in the Cayman Islands. He is known to have financed terrorism by paying rents to the families of Hamas martyrs.
- The masks proved to be dangerous: indeed, a first controversy concerned the fact that they were not washable at high temperature(3).
- The population did not go to the pharmacists to get the masks.
What is the reaction of the Belgian justice system?
Three executives of the Avrox company have been arrested. A judicial investigation was opened for forgery, fraud, money laundering and hindering the freedom of bidding.
This is where we get the feeling that the justice system is laughing at us: Minister Goffin did everything to give the contract to Avrox. He lied to parliament: one of the conditions of the tender was that he had already supplied at least 250,000 masks to another customer. « Avrox was reporting an order for one million masks in 2020, but remained tight-lipped about the name of the supplied purchaser. » (4) .
This order was in fact placed by an offshore company based in Mauritius. In all likelihood, this is a bogus contract designed to justify the choice of Avrox. Goffin will state in Parliament that the reference to Avrox is a sale to another state… He will also claim that the Court of Auditors found the procedure to be correct, which is false(5).
Goffin is a lawyer by training and also studied notary in Leuven, in Flemish. This is not common for someone from the Liège region. He is therefore perfectly aware of the laws in force in our country.
Why is corruption not cited in the charges against the Avrox executives? Why is Philippe Goffin not worried?
A book written by journalist Philippe Engels has just been published about Didier Reynders and his entourage, to which Goffin belongs. It is entitled « The Reynders clan. » It is not a judicial investigation, but a journalistic one. It is overwhelming. It comes on top of the accusations of corruption made by the former CEO of the SNCB, Jo Cornu, as well as those of the former agent of the State Security, Nicolas Ullens, against our European Commissioner for Justice and his friends.
The Belgian is placid, but there are limits. There are many indications of corruption in this case. This is a very serious case involving events that occurred during one of the darkest periods of our country. We have the right to demand the truth and that justice be done.
If the power of the mafia around Reynders triumphs, there is a risk that incidents like the revolt of Jürgen Conings will multiply.
- « Profil nébuleux : retard de livraison des masques… », 24 mai 2020, RTL5minutes.
- 15 millions de masques pour un coût de près de 32 millions d’euros. Voir « Masques achetés par la Belgique : la justice s’empare du dossier Avrox », Le Soir du 4 mai 2021.
- Condition nécessaire pour tuer le virus du Covid. Un deuxième scandale a éclaté lorsqu’il est apparu qu’ils contenaient des substances toxiques comme le nitrate d’argent et le dioxyde de titane. Voir « Substances potentiellement toxiques dans les masques Avrox … », 2 mars 2021, Https://bx1.be.
- « Les masques Avrox, une escroquerie ? Trois personnes sous mandat d’arrêt », RTBF, 7 mai 2021.
- « Une fraude lors de l’achat de millions de masques par la Belgique ? La référence d’Avrox pose question », 7sur7, 4 janvier 2021.