Sinn Fെയ്in MLA, who has been at the center of controversy over delays in refunding funds for troubled businesses, is expected to face questions about his eligibility to sit on two Stonemont scrutiny committees.
West Tyrone Representative Mollosa McHugh remains an MLA and party member. Although political parties are not eligible for funding, three of his Sinfen colleagues, including former Foil MP Elisha McCallion, were forced to resign after it was revealed that they had accepted three payments of $ 10,000 under a small business grant scheme.
The money was refunded earlier this week for up to eight months.
According to the Treasury, the payments were made to Elisha McCallion, Largan Sinn’s Fin Office, and Molioza McHugh MLA – Strabain Sinfen Office.
Sinn Fൻin leader Mary Lou MacDonald has accepted the resignation of an unnamed party official in West Tyrone. Mollosa McHugh, who failed to repay the grant immediately responsible for the operation of the account.
However, questions remain as to why McHugh did not repay the money he submitted to his account as soon as possible and why he needed the permission of another Sinfen official.
PSNI confirmed last night that it was considering a request to investigate issues related to erroneous payments.
Of the total 452 payments, $ 4.5 million was made to businesses that did not qualify for the scheme – two percent of those who received emergency funding.
DUP MLA Gary Middleton said he had written to PSNI Chief Constable Simon Byron to ask police to investigate where the crime took place.
The Legislative Commissioner has been asked to look into the matter.
McHugh sits on the Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee. Ian Snowden, chief executive of Land and Property Services, explained the implementation of the project in the coming weeks.
Last night, SDLP finance spokesman Matthew O’Toole raised concerns about the appropriateness of West Tyrone MLA’s role in the committees.
“There are serious questions about McHugh’s remnants in the PAC and finance committees – they have to act as custodians of the public purse – given the dubious circumstances surrounding these payments,” he said.
If McHugh is the beneficiary of the $ 10,000 support payment, “it’s his personal responsibility to repay – as well as the delay in making the refund,” TUV leader Jim Alistair said.
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