31 July 2006 | Paul Snell
Robert Black, Scotland's auditor general, has begun a preliminary inquiry into the collapse of the £10 million deal to purchase a new fisheries protection vessel.
A spokesman for public-spending watchdog Audit Scotland, confirmed that Black will be requesting financial documents to see if further investigation is needed.
The Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency (SFPA) cancelled a deal to buy the protection vessel following a report that said it had breached public purchasing rules (News, 22 June
). One breach was that the technical specifications required bidders to submit tenders using the SFPA's preferred manufacturers and suppliers.
Conservative MP Geoffrey Cox, who represents Torridge and West Devon - home of the Appledore shipyard, where the ship was to be built - asked Black to investigate the cancellation.
Audit Scotland is expected to decide next week whether to take the matter further. If it does investigate, it will report to the Scottish Parliament, which will then decide how to pursue the matter.