Wednesday 1 March 2017

Dail watchdog to recall NAMA chief over 'backtracking' on bank evidence

THE Dail's spending watchdog is recalling the head of NAMA amid concerns he may be "backtracking" on previous evidence he gave about bank loan valuations.

Chief executive Brendan McDonagh (right) told the Public Accounts Committee last month he did not disagree with comments that NAMA had been given "false and misleading information" by the banks about the value of their toxic loans.

The committee subsequently wrote to the Garda Fraud Squad, the Financial Regulator and the Director of Corporate Enforcement to request an investigation.

But Fianna Fail TD Ned O'Keeffe said it had now been reported that NAMA had no evidence to back up these claims -- and that Mr McDonagh's comments had been misinterpreted.

"I think he should be disciplined for misleading us here," he said.

Committee chairman Fine Gael TD Bernard Allen said Mr McDonagh would be recalled next month to discuss his "reported backtracking".

"We will give him an opportunity to clarify his evidence about the banks misleading NAMA," he said.

Last month NAMA said it had been given information by the banks that led it to believe a 30pc discount on loans would be the correct price to pay. But it then found that a 58pc discount was the proper price -- thus the banks were paid a €20bn less.

Michael Brennan

Irish Independent

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