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Ministers conflict of interest


Banker
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20 minutes ago, ian rush said:

At least the planning committee doesnt get voted in directly by the public and id trust them every time over Council or a Minister in an appeal.

Ministers love saying yes even on shitty extensions that go to appeal. They go positively cunt struck if anyone says the build will be good for the economy.

I think as well that you've got to look at the period. This original business was following on immediately from the VAT rebate reduction earthquake. IoMG would have been falling over itself in the scramble to find replacement income to fund the empire.

However, I also recall one of the comments by the Author in Part 1 (paraphrased), "It is easy to acknowledge economic benefits when the Application refers to business premises - it is less easy to do so when it involves residential development".

It might be an indicator of how much panic there was over the future of Govt finances?

 

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14 minutes ago, Non-Believer said:

I think as well that you've got to look at the period. This original business was following on immediately from the VAT rebate reduction earthquake. IoMG would have been falling over itself in the scramble to find replacement income to fund the empire.

However, I also recall one of the comments by the Author in Part 1 (paraphrased), "It is easy to acknowledge economic benefits when the Application refers to business premises - it is less easy to do so when it involves residential development".

It might be an indicator of how much panic there was over the future of Govt finances?

 

Should be even more panic now with another £10m+ cost of MERA etc plus loss of NI/tax etc

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9 minutes ago, Banker said:

Should be even more panic now with another £10m+ cost of MERA etc plus loss of NI/tax etc

However, you've got to take into account that the VAT/Excise rebate is now almost back up to the levels that it was in the heady days of the "film industry", etc. Well over £1M per day if the recent Treasury releases are to be believed. That should at least cushion the losses.

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Some illuminating extracts from the report:

Minister Laurence Skelly (MS)

41.The meeting with MS had been fixed for his convenience and I was therefore surprised to find that he had not prepared for it, by refreshing his memory or looking at the Departmental papers.

42.MS said that he accepted that he had an actual (not merely perceived) conflict of interest when he took part in the CoMin discussion on the Meary Voar planning application on 3 September 2015. He had no recollection of the meeting and said that he relied on officials such as the Chief Secretary or HM Acting Attorney General to tell him of any conflict of interest. He understood that the conflict related to a hangar being built at Ronaldsway about which he knew nothing and which he thought should have been a matter for DoI.

43.I showed MS the letter in support of the Meary Voar Development, signed by him and dated 5 May 2015, which made express reference to the hangar and its link to the development of the property. MS had no recollection of it. I showed MS the report of Stephen Amos referring him to specific paragraphs dealing with the economic benefits which should have alerted him to his Department’s interest in the planning application. MS conceded that had he read them, it would have alerted him. He was happy to concede that he had been negligent but insisted he had not knowingly failed to declare a conflict of interest.

44.I asked MS about his knowledge of the HNWI. He was certain that he had not met him, but might have spoken to him on the telephone. He explained that, as the previous planning application had been approved, DED had seen the application as an extension of the first and had expected it to be passed without difficulty. At this point, MS explained that he had been Chairman of the Planning Committee and 16 subsequently Minister for Infrastructure for a short period. He had found the attitude of the Planning Directorate and their strict adherence to proper procedure and their narrow vision extremely frustrating. He said that the shortage of suitable properties and the problems over planning deterred HNWIs moving to the Isle of Man and this was hindering economic growth.

47.At the time I interviewed MS, I had been under the misapprehension that Stephen Amos’ Report had been discussed at the meeting on 3 September 2015. After I learned from HM Solicitor General that there had been an earlier meeting at which MS had recused himself and that the meeting of 3 September had considered the Report of Mike Ash, I wrote to MS, setting out the correct position and offering to see him again, or in the alternative, seeking his comments in writing. MS did not respond so I wrote again setting him a deadline and explaining that, in the absence of any response, I might have to draw adverse inferences. Copies of the correspondence are attached as Appendix 4. In his response dated 12 January 2016, MS again denied that he knew that he had a conflict of interest. He believed that he had only “skim-read” the papers and failed to notice it, but again stated that he relied on others to identify any conflict and had to assume that no one raised it

 

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1 hour ago, John Wright said:

They now "Can't be reached" either. 

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3 minutes ago, quilp said:

Ignorance is no defence. Skally should be suspended immediately. 

Especially when, at the previous CoMin meeting, he had declared an interest, and it was minuted. How can he have known he had a conflict one week, but not the next.

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6 minutes ago, quilp said:

Ignorance is no defence. Skally should be suspended immediately. 

But it's "historical" (his words). Meaning that they tried to hide it for so long (amazing the lengths that they went to to try and do that too, thanks Roger M), that it's null and void, the slate has been wiped and there's no longer any purpose in pursuing it.

If he wasn't already stepping down at end of term, I'd say that this would confirm it?

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