Belfast Telegraph

Minutes from meeting over the risks of RHI softened

By Staff Reporter

A Stormont department was presented with "watered down" minutes of a meeting warning of the risks of the Renewable Heat Incentive, the inquiry heard.

Officials from the former Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) were told of the concerns in a teleconference in June 2012.

Marcus Porter, a lawyer for Ofgem ­­- the body paid to run the scheme - referred to "legal risks and administrative difficulties arising from the deficiencies" in the GB scheme, which was similar to the Northern Ireland one.

However, Keith Avis, another Ofgem official, told his boss he would "revisit the text of the minutes" to capture Mr Porter's recommendation but "without overplaying the deficiencies" of the GB regulations.

Mr Avis said he did not want to appear critical of the GB scheme. As a result, Mr Porter's use of the term "legal risks and administrative difficulties arising from the deficiencies" of the GB scheme was changed to "logistical and presentational issues", the inquiry was told.

DETI was provided with the "watered down" version of the teleconference's minutes.

It did not receive the copy that contained Mr Porter's original, more forthright legal advice.

Belfast Telegraph

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