Cost of RHI inquiry rises by up to a third

The projected cost of the independent inquiry into the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scandal has risen by up to a third.

The Department of Finance said the inquiry, originally projected to cost £5 million, may now cost up to £6.7 million.

The inquiry, chaired by retired Lord Justice of Appeal, Sir Patrick Coghlin, was launched in January 2017 and continues to work.

Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said it would “get to the facts of the RHI Scheme, to identify negligence, incompetence, alleged corruption and abuse, and to hold those responsible to account”.

The inquiry has the powers to “compel witnesses and evidence”.

A spokesperson for the Department of Finance told BBC News: “The volume of evidence required by the inquiry has resulted in the oral hearings continuing to the autumn 2018, which means that the costs originally estimated to be £5m will increase as a result.

“The department revised estimate is £6.1-£6.7 million.”