News

Maghera man charged over failed events firm

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

A MAGHERA man has been charged with conspiracy to defraud and aiding or abetting misconduct in public office, both between October 2004 and January 2006.

Damian Fleming from Station Road, is facing criminal charges over the failure of the Northern Ireland Events Company (NIEC), which was established to bring high-profile events to the Province following the Troubles.

The former Chief Executive Janice McAleese was also charged with misconduct and fraud, in addition to conspiracy to defraud the NIEC between October 2004 and January 2006 by "dishonestly causing or permitting excessive fees to be paid to Damian Fleming or Schism Ltd".

Fleming is alleged to have aided and abetted McAleese to deceive the board relating to 160,000 worth of funding as well as other payments.

The conspiracy to defraud charge relates to "excessive fees" he allegedly conspired with the NIEC to have paid to him and Schism Ltd.

Following a brief hearing at Belfast Magistrate's Court last week the case was adjourned until May 2.

From 1997 the failed public body brought the likes of Luciano Pavarotti, Rod Stewart and Sir Elton John to venues such as Stormont.

Despite getting millions in taxpayer funds it collapsed in 2008, leaving debts of 1.6m, with several of the board members accepting directorship bans earlier this year.

The NIEC received 18m in Government funding between 1997 and its collapse.

The failure of the NIEC was the subject of an Audit Office probe, with a damning report being published in 2015.

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