14/06/2012 Dragon's Eye


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Feel like investing in a derelict hotel?


The Welsh Government's got one going cheap.


This is Dragon's Eye. Good Evening.


�1.6 million of public money was wasted by the Welsh Government when


it bought a hotel in Llangollen for a charity to turn into a martial


arts centre. That's according to a report from


the Wales Audit Office which says persistent bad practice and poor


judgement by officials meant that the taxpayer did not get value for


money on the deal. The report highlights a conflict of


interest relating to one official which was not properly managed and


a failure to accept legal advice in relation to the deal struck with


the organisation behind the project. Here's Brian Meechan.


This is Paul Won, a monk, traig people in 2006 during the time when


he was teaching at the former River Lodge hotel in Llangollen. This is


the building now, derelict and vandalised in the years after being


abandoned. The financial watchdog criticises the purchase of River


Lodge in 2007 as, "Flawed" it says the price tag represented poor


value-for-money and it suggested that was more than the property was


worth. The wging with went ahead with the project that the Welsh


Doflt development Agency had done the work on. I was running


international courses in marshal arts -- martial arts. I have a


sanction to teach kung fu, which was given to me as a cultural gift


from one of the masters. Given to the people of North Wales as a


cultural gift. The Audit Office criticises the lease agreement as,


"Unwise" it says the control and governance of the purchase of River


Lodge was, "Weak". The Welsh Government bought the property for


�1 .6 million it was not supported by a prior or independent Valation.


We assessed that they paid top market price for the property and


more than it was worth for its intended use. At the time it bought


the property, even those it's purchase was to sub-let it, it did


not have any agreement in place at that time. Concerns were raised


about the role auto civil servant played in this project. She was


responsible for looking after its development on behalf of the Welsh


Government. She sat on the Board. She has been sacked. We have been


told is now taking her case against her former employers to an


employment tribunal. I thought it was not just reasonable, I thought


it was a responsible thing to do to ask this person to join the Board


and keep an eye on us and make sure it was complyant and so on. It's


already been established that this so-called conflict of interest, I


On Dragon's Eye - criticism of the Welsh Government's 'flawed' spending of public money by the Wales Audit Office, and, as we progress further along the devolution journey, what does the future hold for the Wales Office?

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