Procurement remains a bit of nightmare for the
permanent government the Civil Service, especially when it comes to judging what constitutes value for money.
John Campbell at the BBC has the core of the story. As the Auditor General notes, “two years later, a whistleblower went directly to the NIAO and it was only then that a serious investigation began.”
In fact prior to the NIAO receiving the complaint alerts were directed upwards three times: once in 2006, then again 2008, but were not brought to the attention of European funders until 2011.
As a result:
In the end Europe withdrew because of irregular expenditure and Northern Ireland’s Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) lost two million euro of EU funding and the Republic’s Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources lost 1.8 million euro.
As noted on Friday, such willful blindness usually comes with a price tag…