Yesterday's Western Mule headline Welsh Government breaks silence on Awema scandal was somewhat confusing since as the opposition parties pointed out that Finance Minister Jane Hutt was weak and evasive” answers repeatedly saying the Welsh Government was respecting protocol by awaiting the outcome of scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee.
Although Ms Hutt did say the Government had taken “swift and decisive” action to stop the charity’s funding.in the same manner the Captain of the Titanic of a ship who has just rani ship into another would be swift and decisive in launching the lifeboats .
In response to Liberal Democrat Peter Black Ms Hutt resorted to the sort of language which leads to bafflement amongst us poor ordinary voters.
“When the report was published by the Wales Audit Office on Thursday October 18, it was received of course by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and I understand that this report will follow the due process of the Welsh Audit Office value-for-money study report, and as the Welsh Government respects that process I wouldn’t want to preempt the outcome of the Public Accounts Committee’s work.
“But I would say, and indeed the Permanent Secretary made this clear last week, the action we had already taken prior to the publication of the WAO’s report that a grants management project [was] established in 2010, a [Grants] Centre of Excellence has been created in order to develop corporate process and procedures, tools and guidance for non-procured funding to ensure we respond effectively to reports of this kind.”
Well that lets her off the hook
I'm not a fan of Peter Black but he was right to say “shameful” that Ms Hutt had to be brought before AMs to answer questions on the issue.. He said,
“Their behaviour has brought the National Assembly into disrepute by repeatedly showing a complete disregard for Wales’ democratic process,”
Conservative Shadow Finance Minister Paul Davies said:
“It’s about time ministers spoke up and took some responsibility for this fiasco.
“Closing ranks and hiding behind locked doors only serves to confirm further weakness. Welsh taxpayers deserve an apology for the catalogue of errors in the government’s handling of Awema.
“Minister after minister had a part to play in this disaster and recognition of a lazy attitude towards the public purse is now sorely needed.
Plaid Cymru’s Communities spokesman, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, said that the Welsh Government response was “far from satisfactory”.
The Mule proudly reveals that the All-Wales Ethnic Minority Association (Awema) scandal, first revealed by WalesOnline earlier this year.
“When will the Welsh Government address the concerns raised about its conduct? This shameful silence must end.
“The Party of Wales is adamant that trust is the basis of a strong relationship between the Welsh Government and the third sector, and the Labour government must now work to regain that trust.
“That must start with fronting up to this terrible mess, and answering the difficult questions about why this organisation was allowed to continue in its mismanagement and waste millions of the taxpayers’ pounds.”