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Auditor General to rule on InvestNI £1m Campsie rent on empty building’ - Anderson

28 October, 2009 - by Maeve McLaughlin


 

The Auditor General is expected to criticise InvestNI over the investment body's record in the North West, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has revealed.

Martina Anderson said:

“I met with the Auditor General this week in relation to Sinn Féin’s ongoing investigation into the failure of invest NI to deliver for the North West region.

“Last year, I revealed how Invest NI had paid a quarter of a million pounds in public money to rent an empty building on the outskirts of Derry since 2002. In the previous 10 years, INI's predecessor - the IDB - paid a quarter of a million pounds to rent the same empty building. That's half-a-million pounds of public money already squandered."

“My investigations also established that Invest NI hold a lease on this empty building which runs until 2017 meaning that they will continue to shell out £45,000 per year for the next decade - regardless of the fact that this unit is lying empty.

“Under current circumstances, by the end of the 25 year contract, INI will have paid total rent of one million pounds for an empty building.

"On one hand, this is a scandalous waste of public funds and on the other it speaks volumes about INI's lack of commitment to the North West by failing to find a tenant for a major business unit in Derry over a 17-year period - yet continuing to pay the landlord from public funds!

“We took that evidence to the Auditor General and he is now finalizing his report into the affair. I fully expect that report to strongly criticize Invest NI and to make recommendations for reform of its estate strategy.

“However, I also feel that this issue is only a symptom of the wider failures within Invest NI and I will continue to press for its total reorganization and for an end to the scandalous neglect of the North West.”

Note to Editors

Invest NI holds the lease on one vacant unit which is located at Campsie Business Park. The lease on the unit was inherited by Invest NI from the Department of Economic Development through the Industrial Development Board.  

Invest NI holds a 25 year lease on this unit which commenced on 10th August 1992.

Between April 2002 and May 2008, Invest NI has paid £249,595 rent on the vacant business unit at Campsie Business Park. The unit has remained empty despite being actively marketed by IDB / Invest NI both internally to Client Companies and on the open market through an estate agent.

The rent on the unit prior to April 2002 was paid by the Industrial Development Board. Whilst Invest NI does not hold the financial records of the Industrial Development Board, under the terms of the lease the rent due to be paid for the period covering 1992 - 2002 is approximately £250,000

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