Dalelorenzo's GDI Blog
17Jul/210

Conservative former minister hired by Singapore firm owning £500 million property empire leased to the UK government

Alun Cairns Alun Cairns arrived at the Downing Street in London on March 14, 2019.

EXCLUSIVE: Former Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns takes responsibility with conglomerate owning PS500 million of UK government structures. Cairns are consistent with the firm while he was Secretary of State for Wales to discuss "investment opportunities." The opponent Labour Party accuse Cairns of using his position "to ameliorate himself". See more stories on Insider's business page.

A Conservative Member of Parliament and onetime priest in the UK government has make a racket cautioning a Singapore-based property investment company that owns hundreds of millions of pounds worth of its term of office constructs loaned by the uk government, an Insider investigation has found.

Alun Cairns MP, the onetime Secretary of State for Wales, is being paid nearly PS360 an hour by Elite Collaborator Capital( EPC ), to advise them "on financial and political developments in the UK that could impact the group's international investments."

Cairns met with the company during his time in government in order to discuss "investment opportunities" in Wales, official records show.

Among the company's "international investments" is the Elite Commercial Real Estate Investment Trust. The trust's portfolio is a matter of 155 assets in the UK, 99% of who the hell is loaned by the government.

Most of the assets are leased by government departments of Work and Welfares( DWP) and operate as job centres, with the rely register 123 activity centres on their website .

An investor presentation by the company last month prophesied there would be "increasing utilisation of DWP's services" due to the fact that once the government furlough strategy boundaries, "unemployment is expected to rise".

Their annual report computes: "Amidst rising uncertainty and unemployment in the UK, demand for social and employment support services administered by DWP's Jobcentres continues to intensify, continuing our assets relevant."

The Singapore-based firm too owns qualities leased by other parts of government, including the Ministry of Defence and the Environment Agency.

Since resigning from the government in November 2019, Cairns has also joined the All Party Parliamentary Working group on Singapore.

Opponents say Cairns' used his position to enrich himself'

Boris Johnson and Alun Cairns Mark Drakeford, Boris Johnson and Alun Cairns

There is no suggestion of misbehavior by EPC.

However, activists and opponent MPs have raised concerns about the possibility that Cairns' authority joinings could be improperly benefiting the company.

Fleur Anderson MP, Shadow Cabinet Minister in the resist Labour Party, told Insider: "Under this Government sleaze and cronyism have become so routine and common that it is not surprising that a senior Tory MP appears to have utilized his position to enrich himself, rather than serve his constituents.

"It's time to ban MPs with pound sign in their looks making private money for lobbying gigs, and urgently reform ACOBA - which is standing idly by while our politics does polluted. Labour would establish a single Ethics and Integrity Commission with the powers to oversee and enforce anti-corruption and ethics laws and regulations, which presently scrapped and toothless."

Rose Whiffen, Research Officer at Transparency International UK, told Insider: "Inevitably, onetime officials will seek gainful employ on leaving public power, but recent gossip is demonstrated that easy it is for them to use their privileged joinings and insider expertise to provide a competitive advantage to their new supervisor.

"Whilst the morals watchdog for this revolving door, ACOBA, can advise past officeholders not to lobby government and use their personal contacts for private advantage, "were not receiving" meaningful way of it enforcing these restrictions.

"To avoid another Greensill saga, or worse, the administration is heed calls to employed ACOBA on a statutory foothold and hand it real teeth to do its job effectively."

Such concerns will be exacerbated by divergences between what Cairns told ACOBA and what his former department has previously said in transparency releases.

Cairns told the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments( ACOBA ), which advises former diplomats on their private sector organizations appointments, that he had "initially met EPC during a summit organised by the Department for International Trade( DIT) would be interested to attract Foreign Direct Investment into the UK in Spring 2019 ". Cairns's onetime district, the Wales Office, confirmed this information. Cairns's capacity at these meetings, lands department said, "was to promote investment opportunities rather than conduct specific investment discussions."

But transparency handouts from the Wales Office offset no mention of a join between Cairns and EPC in outpouring 2019 organised by DIT.

They do prove, however, a meeting in the height of summer on 14 August 2019 between Cairns and EPC "to discuss investment opportunities in Wales".

Nor is it clear from ACOBA's letter to Cairns if the scope of EPC's be invested in UK government leased houses was made clear to the committee.

Insider has asked the Wales Office and DIT for further information on assembles between Cairns and EPC but has not received any response at the time of publication.

Insider asked Cairns if he could clarify the number of period he met with EPC or legal representatives, or how feasible it was that he would have no contact with the government with relation to the firm's work in the UK , nor that he would ensure no privileged information or contacts would be used to benefit the company, while providing value for money for the company.

A spokesperson for Alun Cairns told Insider: "In line with Parliamentary procedure, this role was approved by the independent body ACOBA."

It is not parliamentary procedure that requires former executives to seek advice from ACOBA, but the Ministerial Code set out and adjudicated by the Prime Minister.

Parliamentary procedure asks MPs to declare sources of outside income. Cairns's entry on the cross-file of members' interests memoranda the MP is pocketing a further PS3 0,000 a year from another two companies for specifying "strategic advice" to their boards.

One company, BBI Group, makes coronavirus research for the UK government, Wales Online reported.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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