Arlene Foster has dropped a strong hint she does not expect to be back as Enterprise, Trade and Industry minister.
In documentation that has been seen by the Belfast Telegraph, the re-elected DUP MLA says the issue of further bonuses for Alastair Hamilton will be the responsibility of “a new minister”.
There has been speculation Sinn Fein is keen to take over the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Industry.
With the DUP making clear it will opt first for Finance, the republican party can do so because it has next pick of the ministries.
Ms Foster yesterday played down the interpretation of her remark.
“The fact is I have learned never to have expectations of anything — even being returned to the Assembly,” she said.
“It would have been presumptuous of me to suggest I would be back in DETI.
“It simply means that the next minister will have to deal with it, whether that is me or someone else.”
Ms Foster told the chairman of Invest NI, Stephen Kingon, that the £36,000 award to Mr Hamilton was in relation to the year 2009/10 following his appointment.
She said that any recommendation on his annual base salary increase and the extent of the performance-related bonus for the following year 2010/11 would be a matter “for a new minister”.