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Mick Wallace claims ‘€15,000 in a bag’ was paid to Nama official

Nama has said the claims will be investigated.

Image: oireachtas.ie

Updated: 17.40

A NAMA OFFICIAL took cash-in-hand bribes from a company under its control, it has been alleged.

Speaking during leaders’ questions in the Dáil today, Mick Wallace TD claimed a Nama debtor was able to regain control of its business by paying off an official.

“I know of a construction company who wanted exit out of Nama, so they asked the manager of the portfolio [if this] could happen,” he said.

The official, Wallace said, requested €15,000 in cash in exchange – to be paid in a bag.

[The company] delivered the money and a few weeks later [the official] demanded the same again. They duly obliged and all was sorted.

Source: Video TheJournal.ie/YouTube

Later in the day, Wallace directly put a number of questions to the government on the issue:

Source: The Firemen/YouTube

Isle of Man payment

Wallace also defended claims he raised in the Dáil two weeks ago that money paid into an Isle of Man account after the sale of Nama’s Northern Ireland portfolio had been “earmarked for a Northern Ireland politician or political party”.

An independent audit of a law firm involved in the sale found that €9.8 million (£7 million) had been diverted into the account.

Ian Coulter, the solicitor at the centre of the allegation, has since denied that any politician received payment for the deal.

Wallace contested this, saying his source had confirmed the claim again today.

I decided to contact my sources this morning and ask them to what degree of certainty they could stand over the involvement of a particular politician. The reply: ‘Is 100% enough?’

Speaking today, Wallace also claimed that Nama was aware of the alleged transaction since January.

The chair of Nama, Frank Daly, told the Public Accounts Committee last week that it had no knowledge of the payment.

Investigation

In a statement, Nama said it would ask the Garda Commissioner to investigate claims of bribes being sought or paid to officials.

The allegation, if not investigated as a matter of urgency, casts a shadow over all NAMA officers and, accordingly, we will ask that the Deputy’s allegation, including any evidence that he may claim to possess, be investigated as a matter of urgency.

The spokesperson added that any party with evidence of criminal wrongdoing is legally obliged to refer it to the attention of gardaí under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011.

Nama also said it was “categorically false and incorrect” to claim that it was aware of a payment made to an Isle of Man account in January.

“Nama has already confirmed that the first it know of this payment which, it is alleged, was connected to individuals in Northern Ireland, was two weeks ago following news reports on the issue,” it said.

In a letter to the Garda Commissioner, the CEO of Nama, Brendan McDonagh, said it was not previously notified of the bribery claims made today.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that such an allegation has been made. At no stage has the Deputy, or any other person, contacted Nama in relation to such an allegation. Nor, to my knowledge, is the Garda Siochána investigating this allegation by Deputy Wallace.

Read: The man who transferred £7 million from Nama deal explains why he did it >

Read: Nama’s ‘whiffy’ Northern Ireland deal is to be investigated by the UK’s National Crime Agency >

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About the author:

Catherine Healy

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