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UDA boss Dee Stitt 'lied' on his Charter NI application

By Ciaran Barnes

Published 30/11/2016

Dee Stitt
Dee Stitt
Stitt's SIF application from 2012 on which he claims to have worked for Charter NI for 7 years
Dee Stitt

Scheming UDA boss Dee Stitt appears to have blatantly LIED on his application to join a powerful government quango responsible for managing millions of pounds of public cash.

Stitt — who defied calls to stand down as chief executive of Charter NI — claimed on his application he joined the charity in 2005.

But that’s at odds with Charter NI’s own version, which has publicly claimed he only joined as an employee in 2009 — a year after he appeared in court accused of kidnapping a man.

In 2012 the convicted robber was appointed by the Executive Office to the Social Investment Fund (SIF) South-Eastern steering group with references from the DUP, Unite union and a west Belfast employment office.

The steering group has since awarded Stitt’s Kilcooley Sports Forum, which he chairs, £650,700 to build a football pitch in Bangor.

Shaven-headed loyalist Stitt said on his application form sent to government officials that he had been an outreach officer for Charter NI since 2005 with a role “creating community cohesion and addressing community conflict”.

But according to Charter NI he only joined in 2009.

Responding to an inquiry as to whether Stitt was a Charter NI employee when he was in court on a 2008 charge of kidnapping, Charter NI stated: “He commenced his employment in 2009.”

The kidnapping and assault charges against Stitt and two other Bangor men were dropped.

If Charter NI’s version is true, the Bangor UDA boss — whose gang is heavily involved in drug dealing and racketeering — misled officials when applying to join the powerful SIF South-Eastern steering group.

It has also called into further question the decision by the Executive Office to chose Charter NI to manage a £1.7million SIF funding package in east Belfast.

On Friday, Sunday Life spoke to the group’s Head of Operations Caroline Birch — the wife of UDA godfather Jimmy ‘Millions’ Birch — asking her to confirm Stitt’s Charter NI start date.

However, Ms Birch declined to answer our question.

Convicted robber Stitt’s claim to have been employed by Charter NI since 2005 appears on his application form to join the South-Eastern SIF steering group, which makes for interesting reading.

In a section listed ‘Conflict of Interest’ he lists his chairmanship of the Kilcooley Sports Forum — a group that would later receive £650,700 of SIF cash.

Stitt makes mention of this as “a protection to the steering group against any possible allegation that he or she may have used their position to their own advantage”.

The UDA chief — who served a five-year prison sentence for robbery and possessing firearms — backs up his South-Eastern steering group application with numerous references.

As Sunday Life revealed last June, one of them is from DUP North Down MLA Alex Easton who described Stitt as “outstanding”.

The politician later denied knowing the 45-year-old was a paramilitary leader at the time he wrote the endorsement.

A second reference is from the Regional Secretary of the Unite union Jimmy Kelly.

Praising Stitt, he writes: “I see David as a key person that has the potential to build a cohesive society within working class communities. David is a member of the north Down community and held in high regard within that remit.”

Mr Kelly said he would not be answering Sunday Life questions on whether he still endorses Stitt.

Another of the UDA thug’s references came from the Job Assist Centre on the Springfield Road in the heart of republican west Belfast.

A letter from manager Sinead O’Regan supports both his application to the SIF South-Eastern steering group, and that of convicted UDA gunman Sam ‘Chalky’ White to the SIF East Belfast steering group.

Sunday Life tried to contact Sinead O’Regan to ask if she still endorses Dee Stitt, but were told she is currently off work and unavailable for comment.

cbarnes@sundaylife.co.uk

Online Editors

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