Saturday 20 January 2018

Nama accused of insulting Northern inquiry into €1.6bn Nama loan sale

The Treasury Building on Grand Canal Street Lower where NAMA is based. Photo: Tom Burke
The Treasury Building on Grand Canal Street Lower where NAMA is based. Photo: Tom Burke
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

Nama has been accused of “insulting” the parliamentary inquiry into the sale of its Northern loan book after officials refused to attend hearings in Belfast.

The so-called bad bank has said it is not answerable to the Northern Ireland Assembly’s finance committee and instead reports to committee of the Oireachtas.

However, the North’s finance committee chairman Daithi McKay criticised the agency’s stance as it launched the first in what is expected to be a series of hearings at Stormont into allegations surrounding the €1.6bn sale.

He also pledged to exercise the committee’s compellability powers if Nama did not agree to attend to answer its questions. 

“I take it as an insult to this committee that Nama officials will not be sending anyone to the committee to hear members’ concerns,” he said.

Other key players in the controversy, winning bidders Cerberus, another company which was in the running, Pimco, and the Belfast law firm Tughans, have all agreed to give evidence at the committee.

The Law Society of Northern Ireland, which is investigating the activities of former Tughans managing partner Ian Coulter, had been due to give evidence to the committee today.

However, the committee opted not to take evidence from the society. It is understood that the PSNI feared evidence could impede its investigation into allegations relating to Stg£7.5m which was in an Isle of Man account under Mr Coulter’s control.

Mr Coulter, who advised both Pimco and Cerberus, has not denied the money was in his account. However, he has denied any impropriety. He has also insisted the money was not destined for any politician or relative of a politician.

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