Tuesday 20 February 2018

Failure to audit Nama could cost dearly

Only an immediate and independent security review can hope to repair damage to Nama's reputation, writes Stephen Donnelly

Developer Paddy McKillen
Developer Paddy McKillen

Stephen Donnelly

IS NAMA a leaky ship or a paragon of confidential virtue? Right now nobody knows. The Government must respond immediately by setting up an independent security audit of Nama's operations. Failure to do so could cost the State billions.

It's been a bad week for Nama. In response to Dail questioning by me on Tuesday, and Micheal Martin on Wednesday, the Taoiseach confirmed that gardai are now pursuing three separate lines of inquiry involving Ireland's property behemoth. The allegations reported in the press last week are deadly serious -- the 'off-market' sale of Nama properties, the leaking of highly sensitive information to third parties, and the manipulation of property valuations.

While the Taoiseach accepted the situation was serious, he didn't agree that an independent review was needed at this time. It is, and urgently. Any sensible commercial organisation, finding itself the subject of separate police investigations, would immediately call in security experts. The company's operating procedures would be scrutinised, staff would be interviewed, security protocols would be examined, IT systems would be tested, sensitive relationships would be scrutinised.

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