Dixons were underpaid

Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons
Photo by Aaron McCracken/Harrisons

One of the building contractors accused of receiving overpayments from the Northern Ireland Housing Executive is to receive £470,000 after it emerged it had been underpaid.

Dixons Contractors, which is based in Dunloy, was one of four firms named in the assembly by Housing Minister Nelson McCausland. He said they had been overpaid by £18m on planned maintenance contracts.

However, three of the firms have reached a settlement that will involve repaying just £670,000.

They are PK Murphy, Bann and Mascott.

A further £2 million in disputed payments has been written off by the public housing body.

Dixons had always denied the claim that they were overpaid.

Mr McCausland said he believed NIHE had already apologised to Dixons for the underpayment.

“I simply relayed at the time what was given to me by the Housing Executive and that was incorrect,” he said.

The Housing Executive chairman, Donald Hoodless, said the £18 million figure was an estimate reached by extrapolating “a very small sample”.

He said the Housing Executive had always been clear about the limitation of the estimate.

When he appeared before a Stormont committee earlier this year, Mr Hoodless said he was “surprised” the minister had used the £18 million figure in the way he did.

Dixons Contractors said they welcomed the settled reached on Tuesday and the acknowledgement by the Housing Executive that the company was not overpaid.

“We are satisfied that this settlement exonerates Dixons and confirms that we have always acted diligently and professionally,” the company said.