Bioscience and Technology Institute an unmitigated failure
Commenting on a report of an investigation into the Bioscience and Technology Institute (BTI) project, Sinn Féin Public Accounts Committee Chairperson, Paul Maskey MP MLA, said:
“This project provides one of the starkest examples of incompetence and mismanagement of a project that the Committee has ever examined.
“It would be difficult to overstate just how badly this project was handled, both by the funding bodies and by the BTI Board itself. From beginning to end, there was a catalogue of negligence and ineptitude, which can only be described as staggering.
“A number of aspects of this project were of particular concern. One of the most worrying was the repeated failure, at a senior level, within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI), Industrial Development Board (IDB) and Invest NI, to carry out ongoing scrutiny of the project. The impression was of a management culture which ignored rules and regulations and circumvented their own control mechanisms.
“It was obvious that the organisations top managements failed in their particular responsibility to ensure that control procedures were properly followed. All publicly funded organisations must ensure that they demonstrate their commitment to open and accountable procedures.
“While recognising that funding bodies cannot operate in a risk-averse mode it is unacceptable that, through incompetence and mismanagement, that a project which promised so much succeeded only in delivering unmitigated failure.
“The Committee had a deep sense of unease about the inability of Invest NI to provide a convincing explanation about the train of events leading to these disastrous outcomes and was also concerned that there may have been a deliberate cover-up.
“It is imperative that in all future projects funding should be subject to meticulous assessment and periodic examination of their progress to prevent any recurrence of this disaster. Any suspicion of destruction of evidence, refusal to cooperate with inquiries or of cover-ups must in future be rigorously pursued and investigated.
“I can assure the public that the PAC will expose incompetence, mismanage and misuse of public funding wherever it is brought to our attention.” CRÍOCH