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Tourist Board Audit Report highlights serious failures

28 March, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA John O'Dowd, who is chair of the Assembly Public Accounts Committee, has welcomed the publication of the latest Audit Office Report which examines the Tourist Board's (NITB) handling of a senior official's conflict of interest

Mr O'Dowd said:

"An apparent conflict of interest arose during the letting of a contract to manage the trading activities of NITB's subsidiary company, Rural Cottage Holidays Limited to a company, Travel Solutions.

"Investigation of a subsequent complaint led to NITB's Director of Industry Development being dismissed for gross misconduct in January 2007.

"The Audit Office report highlights weaknesses in formal guidance and proper reporting. The report sets out important lessons for handling potential conflicts of interest relevant to the wider public sector in the North.

"The PAC will be holding its own hearing into the matter on the 1st of May and I do not want to pre-judge. However PAC expects government bodies to operate to the highest standards. Where conflicts of interest are not disclosed or managed properly this undermines public confidence in the standards of public administration." Críoch/ENDS

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