SKAT have called for a wide-ranging inquiry in Europe and the United States into the Skye Bridge funding.
SKAT have sent a detailed report of their findings on the financing of the bridge to interested parties, including the Inland Revenue, Companies House, Scottish MPs and the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee.
The Attorney's Office in San Francisco have also been urged to investigate alleged misappropriation of public funds by the Bank of America. SKAT have unearthed a series of flaws in the financing arrangements through information which has in the past been largely concealed from public scrutiny. Getting this information has been likened to trying to get blood out of a stone!
"It may be that the scheme is entirely above board. However, on the face of it you would have to ask why have the companies involved gone to so much trouble to conceal the financial detail of the scheme? It would appear that the company are telling the taxman and Companies House one story and the Courts another.", said SKAT spokesman John Campbell.
"To the Court in Dingwall they say that Miller Civil Engineering are employing the toll collectors and acting as agents for Skye Bridge Limited, but to Companies House that Miller are 'dormant' - not employing anybody - and working as agents for Miller Group Limited. This is one of may discrepancies. Others include apparent tax-evasion, mismatching of funding and misuse of European Investment Bank funds. The only clear thing was that the bridge cost £20 million, everyone agreed on that. But because it is PFI-built it is going to cost at least £34 million."
"Basically it was paid for the day it opened. Their profit is the toll revenue. You have to say the system is colluding in this. The only way you could prove it is to do a full audit of Miller."
The Scottish Office have done little to help to clarify the situation. "I doubt if Michael Forsyth was even aware of the details of the contract. It is still the same Civil Servants who are advising Donald Dewar. Now he is going to get a clear picture either."
Robbie the Pict has confirmed by checking with Companies House that Skye Bridge Ltd. was 99.7% owned by the Bank of America as at 1995. This was up from 20% owned back in 1991. They own 997 out of the 1,000 shares in the company.
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Copyright © Ray Shields, 1998.
Most recent revision, 13 March 1998