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NAMA to be called before Public Accounts Committee over leak allegations

Hearings are likely to take place with National Asset Management Agency and Department of Finance officials in the New Year.

The Treasury Building in Dublin, home of the National Asset Management Agency.
The Treasury Building in Dublin, home of the National Asset Management Agency.
Image: Sasko Lazarov via Photocall Ireland

THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS Committee is to seek “full information” from NAMA in relation to allegations of alleged illegality at the State’s bad bank.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast this morning, the chair of the committee, John McGuinness, said he is “anxious” to get information about the reports that a former NAMA official gave confidential information to individuals who should not have received it.

Hearings are likely to take place with NAMA and Department of Finance officials in the New Year.

NAMA confirmed yesterday that it has reported a second former employee to gardaí for allegedly sharing information unlawfully. One of these cases is in the public domain, while the other has been described as a mid-ranking employee.

McGuinness said there would be a significant impact if the reported issues are not dealt with, telling Newstalk: “It will have a huge negative impact on the economy and property prices if this matter is not properly clarified.”

The Fianna Fáil TD said that the committee will also be speaking to the Department of Finance and will be seeking “any information, emails or letters” from it “that would inform us regarding individual cases or their collective relationship to NAMA and property sales”.

He added that there has been “huge criticism of the lack of transparency in relation to NAMA” and its activities, saying the PAC is “anxious through its investigation to inform the public as to what exactly NAMA is doing and to allow them to put their side of the story”.

Earlier on the same programme, Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said that the Oireachtas Finance Committee would be the appropriate forum for NAMA to be asked “the hard questions” in relation to the allegations.

On Monday, the Fianna Fáil senator Daragh O’Brien said he had information that showed impropriety by employees of NAMA, including the leaking of information, saying this would “rock NAMA to its core”.

A statement released by the agency in response said that “if the Senator or any other party has evidence of any impropriety, they are legally obliged, under Section 19 of the Criminal Justice Act 2011, to bring it to the immediate attention of the Garda Siochána”.

That message was reiterated by the Taoiseach and the Finance Minister Michael Noonan yesterday.

Read: Gardaí will conduct full investigation of alleged illegality at NAMA — Taoiseach

Read: NAMA calls on Senator to pass ‘evidence of any impropriety’ to gardaí

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Hugh O'Connell

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