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Welsh Government settles legal action against property consultancies over land sale?

 The Welsh Government has settled legal action against Amber Fund Management and Lambert Smith Hampton in relation to the portfolio sale of 15 properties in 2012.

The legal action was initiated by the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW) in December 2017.

The Wales Audit Office had concluded in a report issued in July 2015 that “due to flaws in the way RIFW was established, in the selection of assets and also in the sale process itself, neither RIFW nor the Welsh Government are able to demonstrate that value for money was achieved from the portfolio sale transaction”.

In a written statement to the Senedd, Julie James MS, Minister for Housing and Local Government said: “I am pleased that I can now confirm that this dispute has been resolved without the need to incur the significant costs associated with a trial.

“This settlement has been reached on a commercial basis and without any admission of liability by any party. The detailed terms have been incorporated into a confidential settlement agreement between the parties.”

The Minister added that the £40.7m that until now had been tied up in the Fund can now be made available to support future investments across Wales.


Ministers should explain 'RIFW' failures


Letter from the Auditor General for Wales to Byron Davies AM on the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales

Mr Byron Davies AMNational Assembly for WalesCardiff BayCardiffCF99 1NA

Dear Byron,REGENERATION INVESTMENT FUND FOR WALESYou will recall that you raised concerns with my office earlier this year regarding a land and property asset disposal transaction between the Regeneration Investment Fund for Wales (RIFW), an arms-length company owned by the Welsh Ministers, and a Guernsey-based company, South Wales Land Developments Limited.My staff subsequently met with you and your colleague Mr Craig Williams and we have undertaken various preliminary enquiries over the summer as part of my statutory annual audit of the Welsh Government. Our enquiries to date, including reviews of source documentation, have identified a number of questions and concerns which I now consider warrant further in-depth audit investigation.I have therefore determined to undertake a value for money study into all aspects of the sale of these assets by RIFW. In broad terms, this study will be seeking to answer the question: ‘Was the disposal handled in a way that ensured good value for money?’. As is usual with my value for money studies, I intend to present my findings to the Public Accounts Committee in the form of a published report.I am aiming to produce my report as early as possible in 2013. However, this will be subject to any need to pursue additional lines of enquiry which are not apparent at this stage. I will keep you informed of any changes to the proposed timescale and of course I would be very pleased to meet with you, if you wish to discuss this matter in more detail.I do hope that this update is helpful to you.I am copying this letter for information to Darren Millar AM, as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and also to David Richards, the Principal Accounting Officer at the Welsh Government.Given the recent media coverage of this topic, I am also placing a copy on the Wales Audit Office website.Yours sincerely,