Stormont's finance department is being urged to spell out the full costs of the aborted Workplace 2010 programme for selling off Government offices.
The demand follows confirmation that consultancy costs on the collapsed privatisation scheme passed the £8m mark.
The Workplace 2010 plans — terminated last month — would have involved dozens of civil service buildings being sold to a private sector landlord and leased back over 20 years
Finance Minister Nigel Dodds has told the Assembly his department’s Workplace 2010 expenditure included £8.16m on “legal, commercial, financial and technical consultancy and other professional fees” from 2005.
The minister said “approximately 45%” of this work “remains of value” to the department.
Answering questions from UUP MLA David McNarry, Mr Dodds also disclosed that 19 different companies have been paid for consultancy work.
The consultancy total does not cover internal staff-time spent on the project.
Kieran Bannon, of civil service union Nipsa, said: “Nipsa has raised concerns for some time about the excessive amounts of public funds pumped into taking the Workplace 2010 forward.
“We have had a particular concern about the very large sums of money expended on private sector consultants.
“In the past NIPSA has raised Freedom of Information inquiries seeking definitive details of the amounts involved. However, we do not believe that our requests for information were fully met.
“We believe that the public have the right to this information and to know how their taxes are being spent by Government.”
Workplace 2010 was suspended in October, because the two remaining short-listed bidders — Telereal and Trillium — had merged. Mr Dodds told the Assembly the scheme was terminated last month after these companies withdrew their bids.
The sell-off plan has been dogged by controversy.
In 2006, this newspaper revealed that a Government adviser on the project was the ex-boss of one of the bidding companies.
Consultant Robin Priest was the former head of Mapeley, at that stage a short-listed bidder.
The following year, staff concerns about a Workplace 2010 pilot scheme were aired in an in-house survey.