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Sinn Féin to ask Public Accounts Committee to investigate rates debacle

2 July, 2008

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin is to ask the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to investigate the deficiencies in the computer system that caused massive arrears - averaging approximately £1 million a week - in rates collection highlighted by the Auditor General's Report on the Land and Property Services.

Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"The extent of this problem as presented by the Auditor General is extremely worrying. It seems to be a combination of a sloppy tendering process for the purchase of a computer system and a lack of monitoring procedures that would have identified the problem at an early stage.

"Questions have to be answered regarding how the specifications for the IT system drawn up. How much did the system cost initially? Was there liability protections built into the contract and if not why not? Has a solution been identified and if so how long will it take to implement. Are these arrears recoverable and if not who can be held accountable?

"These are some of the areas and questions that I will be asking the PAC to investigate as a matter of urgency." ENDS

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