Thank goodness some of our MHKs are keeping tabs on things in government. In a Liberal Vannin press release dated the 10th May Mrs Beecroft reveals some quite astounding details of a recent Accounts Committee Public Sitting. She states that:
“From the evidence I listened to this afternoon, it appears that this Government is arrogant beyond belief, has no regard for its own regulations and is totally out of control.”
The following media release regarding the appointment of consultants Ci65 contains references to government not adhering to its own regulations, a lack of ‘paper trail’ and the curious details of how the consultancy firm was incorporated on the 9th September 2013 just three days prior to being awarded the government contract. Furthermore, the website was set up one day before the date of incorporation, yet it contains testimonials dating back years before the company was formed.
A sum of £650,000 was awarded to this company. Government’s money? No, it came from you and me. Just like the funding for the Sefton
setup deal and the Pinewood millions. The money wasted on harebrained bendy bus experiments etc. etc. Yet, when the coffers are empty we are told that we must make sacrifices. Why should we? Accountability is urgently needed.
Press Release 10 May 2014
Arrogant and Out of Control
Kate Beecroft MHK, LibVan Leader, attended the Public Accounts Committee public sitting, Chaired by Alf Cannan MHK, on Wednesday when it took evidence from Ministers Teare and Robertshaw regarding the appointment of consultants Ci65 Limited who were paid in excess of £650,000 from the NI Fund. Kate later stated, “From the evidence I listened to this afternoon, it appears that this Government is arrogant beyond belief, has no regard for its own regulations and is totally out of control.” She continued, “It is somewhat ironic that Minister Robertshaw, nicknamed “The Enforcer”, whose role as the new Cabinet Minister is to enforce policy and reform across all departments, appeared to have so little regard for due process and indeed Tynwald itself that he had to be reminded of the correct procedures by Mrs Cannell MHK.”
There is much within the evidence that gives cause for concern including:
• Government’s own Chief Financial Officer admitted that Financial Regulations had not been adhered to
• There was no paper trail
• No FD8 waiver had been granted
• The Council of Ministers approved the appointment of Ci65 Limited and believe that they had the legal power to do this although the Public Accounts Committee had doubts about this and were awaiting a legal opinion
Even disregarding the above, there are grave concerns. On 12th September last year Ci65 Limited gave a presentation to the Council of Ministers and the decision was taken by the Council of Ministers to award them the second phase of the review without going out to public tender. As the Treasury Minister, Eddie Teare, was present at this meeting, this was classed as Treasury concurrence. This cannot be right !! We know that the proposed support for the Sefton Group was taken by Minister Shimmin to the Council of Ministers for discussion without Treasury concurrence and we know that the Treasury Minister, Eddie Teare, subsequently publicly defended the decision to go ahead with the support. We know that he had to under the rules of collective responsibility. What we don’t know is whether or not Treasury concurred with the decision to award Ci65 Limited the contract before it was discussed in the Council of Ministers meeting or even within that meeting. Whatever he says now has to be disregarded as he is now obliged to support and defend that decision.
Again, disregarding all of the above, we have to look at the basics. What due diligence was carried out on Ci65 Limited before the decision was made on 12th September 2013 to award them the contract? What due diligence could have been carried out if we look at the facts.
• Ci65 Limited was incorporated on 9th September 2013
• The website domain name was registered on 8th September 2013
• Testimonials on the website date back years before the company was formed
• The presentation to the Council of Ministers by Ci65 Limited and the decision to award them the contract was made by the Council of Ministers on 12th September 2013
We know from previous instances that due diligence is not something that this Government is particularly good at but this really is ridiculous. The most basic piece of due diligence should be a bankers reference. Are we expected to believe that Ci65 Limited was formed on the 9th September and in the two days prior to the presentation to the Council of Ministers, there was time for a back account to be opened and for Government to write for and receive a reference?
Does this Government really believe that we are that gullible?
Kate Beecroft MHK for Douglas South
Leader Liberal Vannin Party