Friday 27 April 2018

Nama's fees and expenses cost taxpayer over €1.6m

One senior executive spent €1,120 on magazines and books in a year

Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh
Nama chief executive Brendan McDonagh
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

The board of Nama has cost more than €1.6m in fees and expenses since 2012, including almost €85,000 the agency paid to the Revenue to settle tax liabilities for benefit in kind.

Seven serving and former members of the Nama board were paid over €1.4m in fees in the past four years and accounted for more than €240,000 in expenses, according to figures released under the Freedom of Information Act. But the agency's eight high- flying executives claimed €31,566 in expenses between them since 2012, figures reveal.

Nama's team of eight senior managers, led by chief executive Brendan McDonagh, claimed sums ranging from €1,073 to €7,260 over a three-year period.

The expense claims are relatively modest when compared with the State's agency's massive multimillion euro budget - and the salaries in excess of €100,000 that 112 executives are now earning.

Nama has not disclosed the salaries of its senior executives - apart from Mr McDonagh - who was paid €387,210 in 2013. The figures of their expenses were obtained by the Sunday Independent under the Freedom of Information Act. Although the State's bad bank does not identify the managers by name, an itemised list of what they claimed for reflects the high-flying life of the top Nama exec. One senior manager identified on the list as SM2 claimed €6,521 since 2012, almost all of it to cover airfares, taxis, trains and hotels. The cost of the airfares ranged from €150 to less than €300.

Another senior manager - SM1 - spent €1,119.51 on magazines and books on May 2, 2012. Another senior manager - codenamed SM7 - spent €1,069 on a train ticket in May 2013. On the board of directors, Frank Daly received fees totalling €525,000 since 2012 for serving as chairman of the board. He has claimed €10,599 in expenses since 2012. He has claimed no expenses so far this year, but claimed €1,366 last year and €6,418 in 2013.

Willie Soffe has been paid fees of €262,500 since 2012 but has claimed no expenses.

Steven Selig, an American consultant who heads a financial stability firm, was paid fees of €84,000 for his two terms on the board. He received expenses of €45,325 to cover flights from the US and €8,648 for accommodation in 2013.

Nama also had to pay Revenue €76,000 in respect of its tax liability on the expenses, bringing the total cost to €130,473. A footnote on the Nama expenses entries for Mr Selig and Mr Brian McEnery said: "Following a clarification by the Revenue Commissioners on the tax treatment of board members' expenses, Nama made a payment to Revenue in respect of the years 2010 to 2012."

Nama said Mr Selig's expenses related to travel and accommodation on a cost recovery basis to attend meetings in Dublin. Eilis Finan, an accountant, was paid fees of €118,549 during her two-year stint on the board and was not paid expenses. Mari Hurley, who was appointed in 2014, has been paid €73,000 in fees to date and has not claimed expenses. Brian McEnery, a chartered account, was paid fees of €210,000 and expenses of €35,420 during the three-year period.

Oliver Ellingham, also an accountant, who joined the board in 2013, has been paid fees of €101,780 and expenses of €21,736. Nama said the amounts of €5,311 for 2015 and €9,855 for 2014 included in the expenses for these directors represented Nama's tax liability on benefit-in-kind.

Sunday Independent

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