Northern Ireland

RHI scandal: Hamilton rejects Bell's RHI claims

Simon Hamilton
Image caption Mr Hamilton said the allegations made by Mr Bell were serious and warranted investigation

Finance Minister Simon Hamilton has released documents that he says question Jonathan Bell's version of events surrounding the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme.

Mr Bell made allegations in a interview with Stephen Nolan on Thursday.

Mr Bell said a whistleblower civil servant told him references to Arlene Foster were removed from a document about the ending of the scheme.

Mr Hamilton said the allegations were serious and warranted investigation.

On Monday, he released another document to the NI Assembly library.

"There are are many technical details here involving the machinery of government," he said.

'No cleansing'

"As detailed, this documentation involves the drafting and redrafting of a Department for the Economy (DETI) submission regarding RHI closure in 2016.

"There was no 'cleansing' of records, as both drafts are recorded and retained."

"The re-drafting was undertaken by Mr Bell's special adviser. It deleted a specific reference to OFMDFM being involved in discussions in early 2016 on the closure of RHI.

"This was not done on behalf of or to the benefit of First Minister Foster.

"As the documentation shows, this OFMDFM involvement helped secure the closure of RHI in February 2016 - earlier than the date originally signed off on by Minister Bell".

"To suggest this was a cover-up is to ignore the facts.

"The involvement of the first minister and deputy first minster to bring forward RHI closure was in the public interest and the original draft made this involvement explicit," he added.

Released documents

PDF - Note for Record

PDF - Closure of RHI - Urgent Procedures

PDF - Closure of RHI showing amendments

PDF - RHI - Action to address expenditure

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