Martin McGuinness has called tonight on all parties to support the following Sinn Féin amendment, which will be submitted to the Assembly tomorrow. See also http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/42858
That this Assembly recognises the mounting public concern, relating to the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme and the serious allegations of incompetence, corruption and abuse.
Calls on the First Minister to stand aside in order to facilitate an independent, time-framed, robust and transparent investigation and until a preliminary report is presented.
This investigation would be undertaken by an independent judicial figure from outside this jurisdiction and be appointed by the Attorney General.
This investigation must establish how the RHI was developed in strategic policy and legislative terms, including its primary purpose and objectives; how the scheme’s operational roll-out was agreed, administered and implemented in order to match these objectives; and thereafter where overall accountability and compliance for the RHI scheme rested in both policy and financial accountability terms – and were these achieved in the view of the Independent Investigator.
Investigate the motives and actions of Ministers, Special Advisors, Civil Servants, and any others involved in either the strategic policy and operational delivery making processes of the RHI scheme and whether this was done so ethically, within the law, in compliance with the standards established in the Ministerial Code of conduct and principles of public life, and conditions of employment for Special Advisors.
Establish whether any individual (including Ministers, Civil servants, special advisors, others), acted knowingly where a conflict of interest existed, and/or intentionally and dishonestly to make a gain from the administration of the RHI scheme, or to aid others in doing so.
Examine and report on the manner in which the disclosure of whistle-blowers or any individuals who alleged possible wrongdoing about the RHI scheme were tested and responded to by the relevant authorities.
Investigate all applications, including those which successfully benefited from the RHI scheme, and determine in each case whether the Department has a legal basis to pursue and recover any payment made; withhold partial payment yet to be made; establish cases for referral to the law enforcement agencies to consider prosecution where there is adequate corroborative evidence.
On its completion the outcome of the investigation will be made public and will not require agreement of the First and Deputy First Ministers or the Attorney General. A preliminary report will be published within 4 weeks of its establishment. The full report and its outcomes will be made public within 3 months from that date.