The leader of a Welsh council embroiled in a procurement fiasco has silenced calls for an investigation into the process, claiming it would be "a waste of money" because the process was not "in any way flawed".
Torfaen Council, together with neighbouring Monmouthshire Council, were left with £1.8m worth of publicly funded laptops and networking equipment following the reported withdrawal of Newport City Council from the deal – a claim Newport denies.
The equipment was procured from resellers XMA and Intrinsic in 2011.
Despite the equipment gathering dust in storage for nearly two years before the authorities were finally given the go-ahead from the Welsh government – who mainly funded the project – to use the kit, Torfaen's leader claims an investigation into the waste is unnecessary.
Bob Wellington, Torfaen Council's leader, denied that the procurement process was ever flawed during a council meeting held last week.
According to a transcript of the meeting, Wellington said: "The Welsh government, having considered the facts, have given us permission to deploy the surplus laptops to schools in Torfaen and Monmouthshire. We have nothing more to add to our response. I see no value being added by a public inquiry. The facts are in the public domain and there for all to see.
"So far as an independent audit is concerned, there has never been any suggestion that the process for procurement and purchase of the laptops was in any way flawed."
Wellington added that those in favour of an investigation should propose a motion for one at the next council meeting and following the comments, some local councillors are meeting in the coming days to plan one.
As well as an official investigation, some councillors want to ensure safeguards are put in place to ensure future problems of a similar nature do not happen.
When questioned by ChannelWeb earlier in the year, Torfaen's deputy chief executive Peter Durkin said procurement decisions between authorities are not contractually binding, and rely on verbal agreements and meeting minutes.
A local independent councillor said: "£14m of public money is being spent with no MOU [memorandum of understanding], no contract, no minuted meeting. It just beggars belief."
Torfaen boss Wellington claimed calls for contractual agreements to be put in place to avoid similar problems in the future "would not be necessary".
Local Welsh Assembly Member Lindsay Whittle branded the procurement process a "Del-Boy farce" when speaking to local press after the news broke and said: "Why wasn't a third authority on board? Don't buy them if you don't have customers."
In a column in the South Wales Argus, Whittle called for a public investigation.
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