Dome chiefs set for PAC roasting

Bosses at the New Millennium Experience Company are understood to have spent between £20-£40,000 for the Hardcat software in a bid to maintain reports on its asset value in preparation for the sell-off of the Dome. Accountancy Age understands that MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee will raise the matter when they quiz Dome bosses at a hearing this afternoon.

It is understood the software had not been kept up to date, a contributory factor in the decision by Nomura to pull out of the deal to buy the Dome.

Neil Patterson, Hardcat managing director, said: ‘The Dome is still using our system – we offered to assist them in updating their asset register when the Nomura bid came in. However it was too late.’

But a financial spokeswoman for the Dome, said: ‘We are reasonably happy with the maintenance to the asset register’.

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee is also expected to hit out at financial management of the Dome following the National Audit Office’s damning report on the troubled attraction.

David Davis, chairman of the PAC, has said the report was ‘a serious indictment of those involved with this ill-fated project.’

The committee is set to grill key Dome officials this afternoon, although Neil Spence, former FD of the company, is likely to be spared as he is no longer an officer of the company.

Instead David James, the accountant brought in to run the company, was due to face the committee’s questions on financial management. Spence could, however, attend the hearing.

Davis said that he would want to know whether the NMEC was trading while insolvent since February 2000 and why parliament was led to believe the company was solvent until late September.Members of the all party group would also want to ensure that Spence had fulfilled his duty to make sure that money was properly spent, value for money was obtained, and everything possible was done for the orderly sale and hand over of the Dome. NAO

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