Statement by Jim Sillars explaining why he has lodged a complaint to Police Scotland on the “missing” documents in the ferries fiasco.
Like most people who value probity and effectiveness in governance, I have watched appalled as the CalMac ferries fiasco has unfolded, a fiasco compounded by missing documents that would, if available, hold those responsible to account.
I have also watched MSPs and MPs demand a public inquiry which all knew the Scottish Government would not concede. They get high marks for political points scoring, but the public, that is the people who have paid the extortionate bills, are still in the dark; and the west coast communities who have suffered economic and social disruption have no one whom they can identify to seek recompense from.
When Jack McConnell called for a police investigation, his view were reported but there seemed to be no action taken on his suggestion. I had a look at the issue.
There are three Acts of the Scottish Parliament which place a solemn duty on accountable officials and ministers to minute key decisions, and to safely store the documents recording who was there, the subject matter, and the decisions taken. It is inconceivable that was not done by a professional civil service and ministers with long service in government. Indeed the First Minister confirms that there was a written record taken.
Where are the document? Who was responsible for placing them in the records? Who failed to do so? Did they fail to do so? Were they destroyed? Why, among all the documents relevant to this fiasco are these ones, the key ones about who made the contract decision, not to be found?
These are the questions that should fall now to the Police to find the answers, given that in Scots common law the crime of misconduct in public office is there to protect the public interest when those in a public administration fail disastrously to fulfil their duties.
I have made the complaint to Police Scotland and not to the Crown Office because, with all due respect to the new Lord Advocate, I remain unconvinced that the impartiality required when anything relates to the Scottish Government remains unproven.”