A senior Northern Ireland civil servant has been sacked following a top-level investigation into a funds distribution scheme, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.
The principal officer, who had been a senior member of the sustainable energy branch of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry (Deti), is believed to be appealing against his dismissal.
The sacking follows an 18-month investigation which was sparked, in part, by two "whistleblower" letters sent to the Northern Ireland Audit Office.
A scheme to manage a household programme under the Government's push for renewable energy had to be abandoned as a result of the subsequent probe.
The civil servant involved has not been available for comment and the department has refused to make any comment.
The new Stormont Executive has taken up the issue of renewable energy, however, which was discussed by ministers recently.
The civil servant was put on "precautionary suspension" in May last year and, apart from solicitors, the Principal Officers Association was also involved in the case.
A memo from Stephen Quinn, Permanent Secretary for the DETI, which was seen by the Belfast Telegraph, said a number of matters relevant to the suspension were subject of an ongoing inquiry.
Dated June of last year, the memo said the investigation was dealing with complaints received from senior officers of Action Renewables, a government advisory body on energy issues.
And apart from the "whistleblower" letters sent to the Audit Office, Mr Quinn said he had also received two anonymous letters and a letter, which was not a formal complaint, from the Energy Savings Trust.
The memo which was sent to then Secretary of State Peter Hain, said: " As a result, the procurement process which was in train for the management contract for the Household Programme was [on the advice of the Central Procurement Directorate] aborted."
Attempts to contact the senior official, who has been replaced in his senior position within the sustainable energy section, for comment have failed. But it is understood he is appealing the decision.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry said: " It is not Deti policy to comment on internal personnel matters."