independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Michael Noonan to review under-fire NAMA in new year

EU uropean Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn listens to Finance Minister Michael Noonan (R) during a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels
EU uropean Union Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn listens to Finance Minister Michael Noonan (R) during a eurozone finance ministers meeting in Brussels

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan is going to carry out an in-depth review of NAMA in the new year in the wake of allegations about the leaking of information by former employees.

The review will examine how much progress NAMA has made towards its objective of recovering as much money as possible for the taxpayer from the €31bn of property loans it acquired.

And it will also have to consider whether the continued existence of NAMA is necessary. Under the current timetable, it is due to be wound up by 2020.

REPORT

Mr Noonan said that the review was required under the NAMA Act, and also revealed that the state spending watchdog is looking into NAMA. He said the Comptroller and Auditor General is to publish a report on agency early next year.

He was speaking in the Seanad after Labour senator Lorraine Higgins had secured a debate on the controversy surrounding the agency. She called on Mr Noonan to review the NAMA Act to get rid of the "veil of secrecy" around its operation.

"We don't know what deals are being done. We don't know the identity of those people who are buying property from the agency," she said.

Mr Noonan said the NAMA board had met and were anxious to be afforded public opportunity to address these claims at the Dail's Public Accounts committee today.

"I and the NAMA board are taking these matters very seriously," he said.

Mr Noonan confirmed that Nama had referred two complaints about former employees to the gardai under section 202 of the NAMA Act, which makes it a criminal offence for staff to reveal confidential NAMA information. However, he said NAMA had not been provided with any detail by senators about alleged impropriety by NAMA staff.

He said that, contrary to reports, the second employee had been referred to the gardai in the first quarter of this year and not in recent days.

Irish Independent

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