O’Brien lodges Nama documents with Garda
Senator calls for Noonan to make statement to House on Nama
Senator Lorraine Higgins: claimed Nama only reported individuals to the Garda after she and Mr O’Brien raised the issue. Photograph: Eric Luke
Fianna Fáil Seanad leader Darragh O’Brien, who made allegations about corruption and impropriety in Nama, said he was lodging documentation about Nama with the Garda authorities yesterday.
A second Senator, Labour’s Lorraine Higgins, who also made allegations in the Seanad this week, claimed Nama only reported individuals to the Garda after she and Mr O’Brien raised the issue.
She asked why Nama “sat on that information until political pressure was brought to bear. It is clear that Nama not only misled members but also misled the Minister for Finance through its initial inaction and subsequent action.”
On Tuesday in the Seanad she named a former Nama employee, Paul Hennigan, who joined a major property company in the UK and became a director. Ms Higgins said she had “damning information” about him.
Within 24 hours of their Seanad allegations, “the agency reported individuals to the Garda Síochána”, she said.
Mr O’Brien said “this information would not have emerged if we had not raised it in the Seanad”.
He said there was a Garda investigation related to “corruption and impropriety” in Nama, the world’s largest property management company, with responsibility for €74 billion in assets.
He had been made aware of very serious allegations concerning the deliberate undervaluing of loans at pre-sale, aimed at conferring advantage to certain bidders.
He told the Seanad yesterday it was a serious situation if taxpayers were to be on the hook for the sale of performing loans at a discounted rate to preferred bidders and the Ministers for Justice and Finance should make a statement.
“I have come into possession of documentation which I will lodge with the Garda Síochána this afternoon so that it can be dealt with by the proper authorities.”
He cited one allegation in the documentation, quoting from it: “Senior people in Nama got it into their heads that they had to make a profit and they nearly drove me to suicide on valuations. They were hell bent on destroying the banks on valuations so that they could be shown in a good light later.
“There were perfectly good loans written down on the banks to keep the Nama dream alive. I was the one they relied on to get massive low valuations. I destroyed people with these valuations.”
Mr O’Brien’s call for the Minister for Finance to come into the House to make a statement about oversight of Nama was defeated in a vote.
He also wanted the Minister to comment on Freedom of Information requests about “senior officials in his department leaking private commercial information to preferred bidders who were selected by Nama and the department”.