Page last updated at 17:29 GMT, Monday, 19 November 2012

Public Accounts Committee

Two former ministers told the Public Accounts Committee they had nothing to do with the purchase of the former River Lodge Hotel whilst giving evidence on 19 November 2012.

The committee met to discuss the acquisition and action to dispose of the former hotel in Llangollen.

According to the Wales Audit Office report, the government "wasted money" by spending £1.6m on a buidling that was not worth that much and that a proper risk assesment had not been carried out.

When the building was bought in 2007 it was hoped that it would lead to the creation of sustainable jobs, but the company that had intended to use the building, Powys Fadog, couldn't carry out the terms of the agreement.

The building still sits empty, and has cost the Welsh government another £200,000 in maintenance.

Former Enterprise, Innovation and Networks Minister Andrew Davies said that the project was a legacy from the days of the Welsh Development Agency (WDA).

When he was briefed on the project following the WDA's merger to the government, Mr Davies said the briefing given to him was "unbalanced and misleading".

"The WDA had become very large," said the former minister.

"It had a structure whereby regions were almost autonomous.

"That was part of the problem with the organisation.

"The regional directors were almost like mediaeval barons.

"There was little central co-ordination or management.

"Unfortunately that culture continued into Welsh government."

Plaid Cymru AM Ieuan Wyn Jones also gave evidence as the former economy minister in the One Wales government.

He explained that officials had already bought the former hotel before he was told about it, and he was not informed about any problems related to the purchase.

"I had nothing put in front of me saying 'Minister, there's something wrong here'.

"If a minister relies on an officer's advice, what else can he do?"

Former AM Karen Sinclair also gave evidence, as did two representatives from the Welsh government, David Richards, Director of Governance and Arwel Thomas, Deputy Director, Corporate Governance and Assurance Division.

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Public Accounts Committee membership

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