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Ministers should explain 'RIFW' failures

Welsh Labour ministers who had a role in the ‘RIFW’ scandal should fully explain their actions or consider their suitability for office.

 

That’s the message from the Shadow Finance Minister at a Welsh Conservative press conference in the Senedd.

 

Nick Ramsay was speaking as the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee continued to hear evidence surrounding the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales.

 

Amongst written submissions recently published is a letter from the Welsh government’s deputy permanent secretary, in which he admits value for money cannot be proven. The Wales Audit Office has also raised serious concerns.

 

Earlier this year, its own report concluded there were flaws in the sale process and potential conflicts of interest.

 

The Welsh government sold 15 publicly-owned parcels of land for 21 million pounds in 2012. Soon after, Welsh Conservatives raised concerns over the process and referred the issue to the Auditor General.

 

His report found the sales could have achieved up to 15 million pounds more for the taxpayer.

 

Welsh Conservatives have long criticised the lack of government oversight associated with the RIFW land sales.

 

Shadow Minister for Finance, Nick Ramsay AM, said:

 

“These latest revelations are more proof that something has gone very, very wrong.

 

“We already knew this land had been sold for peanuts. Now it’s clear that Labour ministers cannot prove any value for public money.

 

“At least 15 million pounds of taxpayers’ money has gone down the plughole and Wales deserves an explanation.

 

“If Labour ministers cannot provide assurances over the way they operated, they should consider their positions. It’s that simple.

 

“All the evidence suggests this was a scandalous waste of public money and – without a proper explanation – heads should roll.”