THE Alliance Party says DUP Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland refused today to answer a question over whether he ordered a letter to be changed relating to a Housing Executive double glazing contract.
Last week, the Assembly’s Social Development Committee was told by a senior civil servant with with DSD that he was told to change a letter to a Northern Ireland Assembly committee by the Minister’ private office.
The Committee was told by senior civil Michael Sands that he drafted a letter about a meeting held on April 16, 2012.
It heard that Minister McCausland’s private office then asked for the name Turkingtons to be changed to the Glass and Glazing Federation and another company called Fusion 21.
However, under questioning by committee member and TUV leader Jim Allister, Mr Sands said the change was inaccurate.
The committee is investigating allegations made in a BBC Spotlight programme broadcast in the summer relating to contractors Red Sky and the DUP.
Alliance Party committee member Stewart Dickson MLA said on Tuesday that the letter made it appear that the Minister had met the Glass and Glazing Federation instead of Turkington Holdings in relation to his decision to stop a double glazing contract for Housing Executive properties.
Mr Dickson says he put the question to the Minister twice during Question Time in the Assembly on Tuesday.
But the Minister said he wouldn’t answer the question until he appeared before a Social Development Committee inquiry in December.
Stewart Dickson MLA said: “If the Minister has nothing to hide, then why did he not answer my question?
“It appears from an email and in evidence to the inquiry, that the Minister’s office asked for a letter to be changed to make it appear that he had met the Glass and Glazing Federation instead of Turkington Holdings in relation to a Housing Executive contract.
“I asked a straightforward question; either he ordered the change or he didn’t. Minister McCausland is refusing to reveal whether he was the person who asked for this change to be made.
“The Minister has said that he will answer these questions when he appears at the Social Development Committee inquiry next month. It seems that he would prefer to leave a dark cloud of suspicion hang over his head rather than provide a clear answer to my questions.
“I am very disappointed that the Minister would not answer my question. He has disrespected the Assembly when he clearly knows the answer to my question.
“I have asked the Speaker to make a ruling on this,” added Mr Dickson.