MPs to meet minister over Mustang Marine collapse report
2:07pm Wednesday 2nd July 2014 in County News
PEMBROKESHIRE MPs are to meet with the minister for transport tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss a report into the collapse of the Pembroke Dock boat building company Mustang Marine.
Mustang entered administration in March.
Both its Pembroke Dock boat-building operation and the Milford Haven dry dock were bought out of administration at the end of May.
But 71 Pembrokeshire businesses are still owed money - nearly £600,000 in total according to a list of creditors dated March 3. Many have since questioned how the Port, as a 50% shareholder, could not be held responsible for its debts.
It has now emerged that the minister for transport Stephen Hammond MP requested a report into the firm’s collapse from the Port Authority chairman Peter Jones, due to be discussed tomorrow.
Pembrokeshire MPs Simon Hart and Stephen Crabb will be at the meeting.
“This is the first opportunity we have got to go through the report, to talk about what went wrong, who was responsible, why mistakes were made, which procedures were followed and which weren’t,” said Mr Hart.
“This is the opportunity we have been looking for, for the Port Authority to be absolutely clear about what happened. There are some quite significant questions which need answering.
“A significant amount of public money has gone down the swanny on this and a lot of people are owed a lot of money, this needs more than an exercise in ‘lessons learned’.”
According to Mr Hart, there are three issues at stake – the Port’s integrity and reputation among local and non-local investors, the money owed to businesses, and the relationship between Mustang and the Port.
It is not known whether the report will be made public but Mr Hart said he would ask the question.
“This has not done the reputation of the Port Authority any good and they need to repair that reputation – they won’t do that with a bland, secretive report,” he said.
“They need to be upfront and if mistakes have been made own up to them.”
Mr Hart has written to Mr Hammond outlining some of his concerns. These include whether Mustang is a “subsidiary” of the Port – something the Port has always denied – and why action was not taken sooner as the company’s debts rose into the millions.
He also questioned whether there was a conflict of interest between Port officials and the investment decisions taken, and why “due diligence was so poorly carried out” in a “deteriorating industry”.