Some of the conduct in the Renewable Heat Incentive users – leaving doors open and blasting heat 24 hours a day to rack up payments – was clearly criminal in spirit.
And yet in law, it seems, it was entirely legal.
That the scheme was actually set up without the safeguards that prevented such abuse in Great Britain is, at best, monumental incompetence.
The alternative possibility is that someone, somewhere of influence saw that there would be openings if there were no safeguards.
Let us hope that it was merely incompetence, but we do need to establish exactly which it was.
This is the latest and most flagrant example of UK public money squandered in Northern Ireland on a large scale, of which there are many lesser examples.
• Ben Lowry (@BenLowry2) is News Letter deputy editor