Business Irish

Saturday 7 December 2019

Bank inquiry contract not tendered

Emmet Oliver Deputy Business Editor

The Government did not put the contract for the initial phase of the bank inquiry out to tender, claiming it was not necessary as the cost was less than €133,000.

The contract was awarded to two former IMF officials, Klaus Regling and Max Watson, who are to begin interviews with senior banking officials and regulatory agencies within days.

The Finance Department has declined to say precisely how much the contract is worth.

A spokesperson told the Irish Independent: "We will not be revealing the amount as it could impact on the ability of the experts to negotiate their fees in the future."

Under procurement rules if the entire contract is worth more than €133,000 it must be advertised by tender except in very exceptional cases. Even if the contract is worth less than €133,000, the department must prove that there is only one suitably qualified specialist who can carry out the exercise.

According to procurement rules "it must be demonstrably clear that another service-provider could not perform a contract more economically''.

Even contracts worth more than €25,000 are subject to an independent internal review and annual reporting requirements by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

The contract is described as short-term and as a result the question of tendering does not arise, the department said.

Mr Regling and Mr Watson are carrying out what is known as a scoping enquiry.

This will take about 17 weeks, with nine of those spent in Dublin, and their report is expected to be handed to Finance Minister Brian Lenihan in late May.

The work begins with research and interviews and then moves on to drafting and follow-up interviews.

The two authors are then expected to do some final checks before submitting the report to Mr Lenihan.

Irish Independent

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