Monday 29 May 2017

'Hostile' Moriarty has little interest in truth -- witness

Sam Smyth

THE final witness at the Moriarty Tribunal made allegations of bias against its legal team and said the preliminary findings it made were "hostile".

Danish telecommunications consultant Professor Michael Andersen said the tribunal had little interest in finding out what really happened during the competition for the second mobile phone licence in 1995.

The State's international consultant to the competition won by Denis O'Brien's Esat Digifone made the comments on the third day of questioning by Michael McDowell.

After a number of tense exchanges, counsel for Prof Andersen, John Gleeson, accused Mr McDowell of addressing his client "in the tone of a prosecutor against an accused person".

English was not Prof Andersen's native tongue, said Mr Gleeson, adding that Mr McDowell was subjecting Prof Andersen to "linguistic torture".

However, Mr Gleeson made it clear he was not criticising Mr McDowell -- a barrister acting on instructions.

"And you sir, are the client," he said to the chairman, Mr Justice Moriarty.

Prof Andersen was critical of the tribunal's legal team, saying it had a "working hypothesis" that a rival bidder for the licence -- the Persona consortium -- should have won the competition.

Two of the tribunal's legal team both held the opinion that Persona should have won, said Prof Andersen, and this led to the preliminary findings and the underlying thesis that something was fundamentally wrong.

The tribunal legal team's Persona theory was present right through the provisional findings: "Otherwise the tribunal could not arrive at the hostile view it does in the provisional findings," said Prof Andersen.

The consultant said that in 2007 the tribunal made a ruling that was factually incorrect and defamatory of him.

"The hostility of the tribunal escalated to a level where I could not have any normal communication with it," said Prof Andersen.

Confidential

"The reason for my changed approach is fairly justified from my point of view when the tribunal has had so little interest in getting down to what happened in 1995," said Prof Andersen.

Prof Andersen, also made a number of observations about Ireland. Speaking about the Irish way of doing things, he said: "I've learned from my dealings that anything that says 'private and confidential' means 'send it to everybody'."

Prof Andersen will continue to give evidence today.

Irish Independent

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