Saturday 24 February 2018

'Bad bank' to be called before spending watchdog

Stephen Donnelly TD. Photo: Gerry Mooney
Stephen Donnelly TD. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Michael Brennan and Daniel McConnell

NAMA is to be hauled up before the Dail's Public Accounts Committee to deal with allegations about the leaking of sensitive information by ex-employees.

The Dail's watchdog committee has agreed in private session to call accounting officers from the agency and from Finance Minister Michael Noonan's department to account for their response to the controversy.

This will mean NAMA's chairman Frank Daly and its chief executive Brendan McDonagh, and Department of Finance secretary-general John Moran, will be grilled by committee members.

It came after allegations in the Seanad that sensitive information had been leaked from the so-called bad bank NAMA, which had allowed developers to profit.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the allegations were being taken "extremely seriously" by the Government. At Leader's Questions in the Dail, Mr Kenny said he was aware that a garda investigation into a complaint by NAMA against one of its former employees was at an "advanced stage".

"The Government takes this matter extremely seriously indeed.

"The point you raise is one of concern and substance," he said.

Mr Kenny said the gardai had received a separate complaint from a firm of solicitors relating to an alleged disclosure of information by NAMA last August.

He urged anyone who had information about improprieties or illegal actions to contact the gardai.

Independent TD Stephen Donnelly said that NAMA had to be "above reproach".

"It must be able to operate in such a way that it can return as much money to the State as possible," he said.

Mr Kenny said that he could not declare himself confident that all the systems in NAMA were in order because he was not in touch with the agency due to the legal limits on contact with politicians but he said that Finance Minister Michael Noonan was in contact with the agency.

Irish Independent

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