Castlereagh Borough Council was last night due to hold an official meeting to instigate an investigation into allegations surrounding Councillor Iris Robinson's business dealings.
Last week it was reported by the BBC Spotlight programme that while a councillor, MP and MLA, Mrs Robinson procured money from two developers to help her teenage lover open the Lock Keeper's Inn cafe in south Belfast.
Councillor Robinson then attended the August 2008 Castlereagh Council meeting during which the cafe lease was awarded to Kirk McCambley. Spotlight alleged Cllr Robinson broke the code of conduct by failing to declare a financial interest.
Following the programme, the council then, last Friday, said it had held a cross party meeting where “the acting chief executive was instructed to instigate a full investigation”.
So far it is not known what sort of investigation will be held but its terms of reference were to be agreed at the special council meeting last night, as the CT went to press.
Meanwhile, according to Castlereagh Council’s August 2008 minutes, Mr McCambley was awarded a seven-month rent free period worth just over £4,000 to run the cafe and did not have to pay for catering equipment worth almost £6,500.
These conditions were approved based on the recommendations of officials in July 2008.
Before last night’s meeting one council group said it would be pushing for a full independent investigation.
Councillor Geraldine Rice said: “I have written as Castlereagh Alliance Group Leader to the Comptroller and Auditor General to seek assurances that they will conduct a full independent inquiry into matters relating to Castlereagh Council. I said in the letter that given the seriousness of this issue, an investigation must take place immediately.”
The Robinson allegations