Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Laurence MacKenzie didn’t declare embezzlement conviction

Northern Ireland Water bosses were unaware former chief executive Laurence MacKenzie had a spent conviction for embezzlement, the company has made clear.

Minister Conor Murphy, whose department oversees NI Water, has already said he first heard Mr MacKenzie was found guilty of stealing from church funds from the media.

But he said the issue was being |examined by NI Water. The company said there was no onus on Mr MacKenzie to declare his past given that the offence dates back almost 30 years.

But the political focus remained on Mr Murphy after the SDLP demanded Mr MacKenzie’s reported £96,000 pay-off should be put on hold pending a full Assembly investigation into his appointment.

Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister said the Sinn Fein minister still has questions to answer.

“It is my understanding that any applicant for a public service post is required to declare all convictions, spent or otherwise. If that was not a requirement for the post of chief executive of NIW, then as the overseeing minister, Conor Murphy must explain and take responsibility for such a serious omission,” Mr Allister said.

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