Friday 18 April 2014

Noonan taking NAMA allegations “very seriously"

Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said that that he and the NAMA board are taking the allegations about the leaking of information by NAMA employees “very seriously”.

He was speaking in the Seanad, after Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins had secured a debate on the controversy surrounding the agency.

Mr Noonan said the NAMA board met this morning and were anxious to be afforded public opportunity to address these claims at the Dail’s Public Accounts committee on Friday.

“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.

Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins 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 need the identity of those people who are buying property from the agency,” she said.

Ms Higgins said that she had sent information to the Gardai concerning the allegations about NAMA staff to the Gardai. Fianna Fail Senator Darragh O’Brien has also passed on information to the Gardai.

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