Pounds 250,000 'paid for silence of executive'

A REDUNDANCY package worth more than pounds 250,000 for an executive of a government agency was alleged yesterday to have been paid for his silence about other irregularities with the use of public funds.

The chairman and chief executive of the Welsh Development Agency were questioned about the redundancy package by the cross-party public accounts committee, which is investigating irregular payments, including the hiring of women from a model agency. It follows a damning report by John Bourn, the Comptroller and Auditor General, on irregularities at the WDA, the like of which one senior Tory MP said he had never experienced in 20 years as a politician.

Mr Bourn reported to the committee that in June 1991, the agency agreed an early retirement package for A C M Price, its international director, comprising: a gratuity of pounds 21,350; compensation of pounds 64,258; and a pension of pounds 10,000 a year for 15 years, which was worth about pounds 169,000, according to an actuarial report.

Mr Price left in February this year, aged 50, and signed a confidentiality clause.

Alan Williams, the Labour MP for Swansea West, said: 'That is a lot of money to buy silence.'

Philip Head, the WDA chief executive, replied: 'There was no question of buying silence.'

Mr Williams said later: 'It was a quarter of a million - the price for silence.'

The Comptroller told the committee that Mr Price was appointed international director after the WDA's American consultant on inward investment had been fired, and had taken furniture which cost the agency pounds 53,288 but was worth considerably less.

During 1991, the WDA also appointed Neil Smith as director of marketing. In November this year, Mr Smith, an undischarged bankrupt who had served three prison sentences for deception, pleaded guilty to seven charges of forging and using references and curriculum vitae.

While working for the WDA, he paid a model agency pounds 3,330 for promotional work. The committee was told that one Sunday afternoon, Smith invited 11 women from the agency to his hotel room to interview them about their suitability for a WDA advertising promotion.

Robert Sheldon, Labour chairman of the committee, said: 'How on earth did such people come to be employed by the WDA?' Mr Head replied: 'Mr Smith was a con man. We were conned.'

The Comptroller also reported on the payment by the WDA of a rural conversion grant for craft workshops of pounds 16,895 to Gwyn Jones, shortly before he became chairman of the agency. It was subsequently found that part of the workshops had been converted for residential use, and Mr Jones had to repay pounds 3,379.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits