Probe Iris Robinson’s Lease Agreement, Councillors Urged

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
June 29, 2011 /

The ongoing investigation into the alleged impropriety of a lease agreement between Iris Robinson and former teenage lover has reached higher grounds as councillors from Castlereagh Borough were asked to help in the inquiry.

Allegations of impropriety have been hurled against the £50,000 lease agreement after the Castlereagh borough council awarded the contract to 19-year old Kirk McCambley, who is now running the Lock Keepers Inn since 2008.

But the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) said last month that the wife of Northern Ireland first minister Peter Robinson did not commit acts of “impropriety” when she awarded a lease agreement to her former lover, citing an unpublished report.

The loans that came with the contract were used by McCambley to open Lock Keeper’s Inn, a cafe on the banks of the River Lagan in Belfast, court papers showed.

The scandalous lease agreement led to Ms Robinson’s resignation from the council. She also left her post in the Northern Ireland Assembly and became MP for Strangford.

Deloitte representatives presented the accounting firm’s executive summary of the draft report last month before the Castlereagh council.

DUP MLA Jimmy Spratt said last month “there is evidence of wrongdoing by officers of the council or either past or present councillors within the council in Castlereagh,” referring to a report by Deloitte.

He said the report, though, made no criticism of any member of the council.

Global business consulting and accounting firm Deloitte, which was appointed in 2010 to conduct the independent review into the lease agreement, asked Ms Robinson in a meeting if she had attended the August 2008 meeting when the terms of the contract were bared.

Castlereagh council said in a statement the report did not show evidence of “financial loss to the council or any impropriety by council officers or members directly involved in the assessment panel” related to the awarding of the lease agreement.

The council has started going over the final draft to “comprehensively review the report” so the councilors may respond to its contents, the statement added.

By next Monday, the councillors will have to contact Deloitte.

The Castlereagh Borough Council received a statement confirming that further correspondence was issued to councillors and officers to help in completing the final report.

The council will be further updated at its meeting next month, according to the statement.

 

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