Invest NI must be held to account for financial waste – Martina Anderson
Sinn Féin MLA for Foyle Martina Anderson has said that the continued wastage of public money by InvestNI is totally unacceptable and must not be allowed to continue.
Speaking from the Assembly this afternoon Ms Anderson said;
“Sinn Féin has been intensifying our demands for a thorough investigation into InvestNI, in particular the regional investment inequalities and bad management of its resources presided over by InvestNI in the past ten years.
"Scrutiny of InvestNI financial management has shown that the Invest NI Headquarters at Bedford Street in Belfast could cost somewhere in the region of £115 to £125 million to the public purse, whereas the capital cost of the site is only valued at £25 million.
"This is in spite of continuing payments of £500,000 for their former headquarters now empty in south Belfast, with 11 years to run on the lease and another half a million for premises lying vacant in Campsie County Derry.
"This being said, I believe this is only the ones we know about; it’s like peeling an onion, as you strip away layers of inepitude you find another underneath. It would seem that since its creation and even in its predecessor the IDB a culture of waste and bad management has gone unchallenged."InvestNi claims that 50% of assistance offered is to areas of disadvantage - it's easy to contort percentages. What I want to know is the actual amount of money invested in areas of disadvantage such as Foyle in comparison to affluent areas like South Belfast? This is public money we are talking about and this inept use of finite resources cannot be allowed to continue. The Finance and DETI Ministers need to re-evaluate the focus of InvestNI in order to tackle job creation and regional disparities that are only being exacerbated by the present direction being taken by this publicly funded body.”