THE Government has come under renewed pressure today to initiate an independent inquiry into the sale of NAMA’s Northern Ireland loan book.
Controversy surrounding ‘Project Eagle’ - which involved the sale of a 850 property portfolio for about £1.2 billion - dominated ‘Leaders’ Questions’ for a second consecutive day.
Independent TD Mick Wallace said NAMA has “behaved rotten” in relation to the sale, the proceeds of which he alleged are “proceeds of crime”.
Using Dáil privilege, Mr Wallace alleged that third party “fixers” have benefited to the tune of €45m and that an independent inquiry is urgently required. Such a claim was supported by Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams.
Mr Wallace also named a former senior NAMA executive, Ronnie Hanna, as allegedly having a role in the sale of Project Eagle.
In relation to the naming of Mr Hanna, a NAMA spokesman said:
“It is a matter of public record that Ronnie Hanna, as Head of the Asset Recovery division in NAMA, had a role in the Project Eagle sale.
As the Asset Recovery division deals with Debtor management, the head of the division would, of course, have had a role in the sale of any loan portfolio. All decisions in relation to the sale of Project Eagle were made by the NAMA Board.”
In response to claims by Tánaiste Joan Burton that he should pass all information he has to the Stormont Committee investigating the matter, Mr Wallace said he has already spoken to the gardaí and the national crime agency.
“We need the truth,” he said.
Mr Wallace also said circumstances surrounding the future sale of Project Arrow, which involves €8.4 billion in non-performing loans, “stinks to the heavens”.
He rejected claims by Ms Burton that the matters raised are issues for the North.
“This is a serious southern problem,” Mr Wallace added.
Ms Burton said she was unable to comment on some of the issues raised but warned that an such independent inquiry could take a significant period of time.
“This is a Northern matter,” Ms Burton said.
In a statement, a NAMA spokesman said:
“As we have stated previously, any allegations of wrongdoing should be conveyed to those conducting the current Garda investigation. Under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011, any party with evidence of criminal wrongdoing is legally obliged to bring such evidence to the attention of An Garda Siochana.”