Top official at troubled Welsh agency quits

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PHILIP HEAD, chief executive of the Welsh Development Agency, resigned last night ahead of publication later today of the Government's response to a highly critical report into events at the WDA in 1991-92, writes Chris Blackhurst.

The Government is expected to agree with the findings of the Commons Public Accounts Committee that 'a catalogue of serious and inexcusable breaches of expected standards of control and accountability' had occurred at the WDA.

Among the matters covered by the PAC and first highlighted in the Independent, were: Operation Wizard, the hiring by WDA officials of City consultants to see how the agency could be privatised and the possible concealment of their charges in the agency's accounts; excessive redundancy packages for WDA staff; free private motoring for board members and senior executives; the keeping by the WDA's former North American head of furniture and equipment bought by the WDA; and the appointment of Neil Smith, who had previous convictions for deception, as marketing director.