Outsider set to review Nama sales and returns
The State's public spending watchdog is looking to appoint an outside expert to beef up its ability to review the National Asset Management Agency (Nama) and assess whether the agency has achieved value for money.
The Comptroller & Auditor General's Office (C&AG) has tendered for the appointment of "expert assistance" to help in its work with the State agency.
The C&AG, which has in the past expressed concern about its staffing levels and ability to audit the bad bank, said the expert will help in reviewing and assessing Nama's strategies and its performance in achieving its objectives.
"The expert's work will include detail review of a sample of both property and loan disposals, and of investment/lending transactions, by Nama, to include assessment of returns earned by Nama, with the focus on review of the decision making process," the tender notice for the position said.
It said that the assessment should consider the impact on those returns of the timing of disposals and lending, and whether all relevant information was appropriately considered when the disposal decisions were made.
In a statement, the C&AG's office said it's not unusual for the office, or auditors in general, to engage the services of external experts to advise in either its financial audit or reporting work in areas where specialist expertise is required.
"A number of external experts, eg valuers, lawyers, were engaged by the office in the period 2010 to 2014 for specific tasks as part of the financial audit of Nama and/or for assistance in the preparation of reports on Nama, where the office did not have the in-house expertise or expert knowledge required for specific areas," the statement said.
"Such experts have also been used in other studies, eg medical consultants engaged to assist in examination of day surgery; and statisticians to advise on sampling methodology," it added.
The C&AG's office said it would not be making any comment on Nama's strategies in advance of the report being completed.
The C&AG's office gives opinions on the financial accounts of State bodies, but also reports on matters relating to value for money and the administration of public funds.
It comes just weeks after it emerged that the C&AG's office had warned last year the that it was so badly resourced, it could progress less than a tenth of the reporting topics it had identified.