LISTEN: Causeway Coast & Glens Council accounts to be audited

By Q Radio News

Stormont's communities minister has requested an ''extraordinary'' audit at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Carál Ní Chuilín has directed the Local Government Auditor to examine the accounts of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council concentrating on land disposals and easements and related asset management policies and procedures.

“I have taken this step as I have concerns about land disposals and easements made by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council,'' she's explained. 

“Minister Hargey previously asked the Council to provide details of any disposals and easements at less than best price including when Departmental approval was sought and obtained for such disposals.  

''Under local government legislation a council should not dispose of land at less than best price except with the approval of my Department.  My Department has never received any applications from the Council concerning proposals to sell land at an under value.

“Therefore, in order to have an independent review, I have directed the Local Government Auditor to hold an extraordinary audit of the accounts of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council concentrating on land disposals and easements and related asset management policies and procedures.

“I would hope that this work is undertaken at the earliest opportunity.”

Councillor Joan Baird says there have been two audits in the past year and she's confident the council will again be exonerated.

In October an independent investigation found that a council chief executive was "ultimately responsible" for the granting of a right of way over public land in Portstewart to a hotel developer for £1.

David Jackson, the CEO of Causeway Coast and Glens Council, had 15 complaints upheld against him.

They centred on his conduct over a planning application for a £20m hotel.

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